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Bolder Boulder canceled for 2021; director instead hosting smaller Memorial Day Weekend 10Ks

The 2021 Bolder Boulder has been canceled over concerns about the new coronavirus, but organizers will host several smaller 10Ks over Memorial Day weekend. (Jeremy Papasso / File)
The 2021 Bolder Boulder has been canceled over concerns about the new coronavirus, but organizers will host several smaller 10Ks over Memorial Day weekend. (Jeremy Papasso / File)

The Bolder Boulder 10K race has been canceled for the second consecutive year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but organizers said this year they have elected to let people “run” the course at various Front Range locations rather than trying to postpone the event.

The race, which is typically held on Memorial Day every year, was also postponed and then canceled in 2020 for the first time in its more than 40-year history.

On Tuesday, organizers announced health concerns meant the event would once again not be taking place in its typical fashion.

Race director Cliff Bosley said he and his team had been discussing the event on a daily basis to see if conditions would allow the race to go forward, but said they ultimately had to make the difficult decision that it was not something they would be able to pull off.

“Not being able to run and having to make the decision in conjunction with our city and university partners now two years in a row… Man, that’s tough” Bosley said.

Boulder spokeswoman Sarah Huntley released a statement Tuesday on the cancellation.

“We are disappointed that Boulder’s iconic event must be rescheduled again, as Memorial Day has always been time for our community to celebrate and to remember the 41-year legacy of the Bolder Boulder, running in Boulder, and the Memorial Day Tribute,” Huntley said. “We are all looking forward to next year when Boulder will again welcome participants from all 50 states and many nations to race, run, jog and walk the Bolder Boulder on the streets of our community.”

The University of Colorado Boulder also released a statement on the event, which typically finishes at CU Boulder’s Folsom Field

“We are disappointed that we again have to cancel this year’s Bolder Boulder, and we look forward to the day when we can see thousands of runners crossing the finish line again at Folsom Field,” Chancellor Phil DiStefano said in a statement.

While last year organizers first postponed the race, hoping that conditions would improve enough to run in the fall, Bosley said that this time organizers opted not to go that route due to a potential conflict with the Fortitude 10K event in Fort Collins and the challenge of trying to pull off both events simultaneously if health conditions allowed.

Bosley also said that he felt that the event’s typical place marking the start of a Boulder summer was something they felt was valuable.

“Running on Memorial Day in May, its almost like it’s a rite of passage from spring to summer,” Bosley said.

So instead, organizers will be holding an alternative event called Bolder on the Run, in which participants would run on their own at various courses around the Front Range during the Memorial Day weekend.

“The premise is that you can’t come to Boulder and can’t run the traditional race that finishes at Folsom Field, but we’ll bring the race to you,” Bosley said. “Participants can pick one of five locations spanning three days with seven two-hour time blocks each day to run on a measured, marked and timed course.”

Current locations include Mary Carter Greenway Trail in Littleton, Firestone Regional Sports Complex in Firestone, Coal Creek Trail in Erie, the Larimer County Event Complex in Loveland and Interlocken Business Park in Broomfield.

All courses will be open May 29, May 30 and May 31 over the Memorial Day weekend from 6:30 a.m to 8:30 p.m.

Bosley said they are still hoping to add more locations, including one in Boulder.

“If we can pull it together, we want to do that,” Bosley said. “We didn’t want to hold off on the announcement. But I’m hopeful there are another couple of locations that we can add to the list.”

In addition to preserving the Memorial Day tradition of the event, Bosley said having even some live running will help to serve as a good next step toward what he hopes is the event returning in its full glory in 2022.

“I think that’s why Bolder on the Run is kind of a unique placeholder,” Bosley said. “It will resonate with lots of people. We can’t do it with 50,000 people yet, but this will be our first step to doing it with 50,000 people.”

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