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Bolder Boulder Postpones Memorial Day Race Until Fall

The annual race is on the move.
The annual race is on the move.
courtesy of the Bolder Boulder

The Bolder Boulder will not take place on Memorial Day 2020, the first time in 41 years that the famous 10K footrace won’t traverse Boulder’s streets on that fourth Monday in May. Instead, the race will be rescheduled for Labor Day weekend.

According to race director Cliff Bosley, who made the announcement of the postponement early March 16, the Bolder Boulder staff has, “along with the rest of the world, been carefully evaluating the ever-changing COVID-19 situation. We were hopeful that we could hold the race on the traditional Memorial Day date, but with the dynamic situation, we realize it is prudent to reschedule the race to this fall.”

The Bolder Boulder is a highly popular 10,000-kilometer citizen/community race, attracting more than 51,000 registrants last year. The race, which raises money for local charities, starts from north Boulder, with several “waves” of citizen runners sorted according to their speed, then finishes in Folsom Field at the University of Colorado. Along the way, Boulder residents gather not only to cheer on the runners, but also — famously — to entertain them with belly dancers, bagpipers, rock bands and other groups or individuals. After the citizen runners fill the stadium, waves of wheelchair athletes and elite runners follow on the race course.

The response to the cancellation of this rite of spring has been "overwhelmingly positive,” Bosley says. “The fact that the race won’t happen on Memorial Day but can be run in the fall takes one of the unknowns out of a question-filled world right now.”

Staffers with the City of Boulder and the University of Colorado also supported the decision, he adds. Since race organizers often confer with them, they weren't surprised by the postponement. And they worked with race organizers to quickly come up with an alternative.

The Bolder Boulder and the FORTitude 10k races will now fold into one Labor Day event. The same staff that organizes the Bolder Boulder also handles the FORTitude event, which has taken place in Fort Collins on Labor Day for the past three years.

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“We just didn’t have the staff or the team to say hey, we’ll have half of the team organize the Bolder Boulder for this fall and the other half of you handle the FORTitude for Labor Day,” said Bosley in announcing the new date on March 20.

Last year, about 40 percent of the Bolder Boulder’s participants were Boulder residents or lived in nearby communities in the county. Another 40 percent came from the rest of the Denver area, with an additional 10 percent from elsewhere in Colorado. Only about 10 percent arrived from out of state, Bosley says. Fewer than 100 athletes from other nations participated in the citizens’ race, he notes, but about 66 international athletes participated in the professional division, representing sixteen countries. International athletes from places such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania have dominated the elite race, especially in the men’s division, though professional American women often rank in the top two or three places of the pro race.

People who'd registered for the now-postponed Memorial Day race will automatically be re-registered for the new Labor Day race. People who cannot participate in the rescheduled race will be covered by the Bolder GuaRUNtee, which means the staff will roll their registration packages over to next year’s Memorial Day Bolder Boulder for a $20 fee. Otherwise, race entry fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. For more information, go to the bolderboulder website.

Update: This story was updated on March 21 to reflect the new date of the Bolder Boulder.

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