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Running In Boulder

by Rebecca Heaton - Rocky Mountain Sports Magazine

Planet Boulder. The People’s Republic of Boulder. These are just a few of the “pet” names people have for one of Colorado’s most eclectic and outdoorsy places. The town attracts an array of characters and the politics tend to be left leaning, but these are qualities that give Boulder its unique personality.

When it comes to recreation, though, that personality comes on strong as Boulder has continued to grow its reputation as a training Mecca for some of the country’s—and world’s—best athletes.

But don’t let that intimidate you because the bulk of Boulder’s population are people who just plain love living a healthy and happy lifestyle that involves anything and everything sports and activity related.

With spring going full throttle, May is a great time to play in the Republic. For cyclists, US 36 is a “bike” highway with its wonderfully wide shoulders leading riders to canyons up into the mountains or to flatter, rolling spins to the east.

While mountain bikers don’t have as many options within Boulder proper, several stellar rides are within easy driving distance to town including Walker Ranch at the top of Flagstaff Mountain and Hall Ranch in Lyons. The bulk of trails in Boulder are designated for hikers and runners, with a number open to equestrians. And with 120 miles to explore in the city’s open space and mountain parks, one could spend weeks trying to cover it all.

If you’ve never explored Boulder trails, a good place to start is at Chautauqua Meadow at Grant and Baseline streets. Back in 1898, town citizens approved a bond issue to purchase 80 acres of land to be used as a “Chautauqua.” Over the next 22 years Flagstaff Mountain, Bear Mountain, Royal Arch and Green Mountain were added to the early protected land system. Today, that protected system has grown to 38,500 acres.

Stop by the Ranger Cottage for a trail map. A few hikes of note include Bluebell-Baird, Royal Arch and the Mesa Trail. You can also hike up to several of the Flatirons, which are popular with climbers, too. Afterwards, enjoy lunch on the porch at the Chautauqua Dining Hall, whose world-class chef will tantalize your tastebuds with nouveau American cuisine.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to outdoor fun. There’s paddling and tubing on Boulder Creek; bouldering all over Flagstaff Mountain; running, biking and roller blading along the Boulder Creek Path. You name the sport and there’s likely a place to do it in Boulder.

All this activity can make a person hungry. Luckily Boulder is not wont for eateries to suit all palates. With indoor and outdoor seating, The Med on Walnut Street serves up an impressive selection of tapas and Mediterranean fare. Or try the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, which serves up international food and tea. The vibrantly colored building was a gift from Boulder’s sister city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Looking to carbo load? Try Italian at Pasta J’s or thick crust pizza at Olde Chicago, both on Pearl Street. Or chow down a burrito at Illegal Pete’s, also on Pearl.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, the Boulder Creek Festival rings in spring with live entertainment, food and drink, art exhibits, handcrafted items, carnival rides and more. And the annual Bolder Boulder 10K celebrates 25 years (see sidebar). There’s always something fun happening in the Republic.

For more on Boulder, call 303-442-2911 or stop by

Happy 25th Bolder Boulder

For so many runners, the Celestial Seasonings Bolder Boulder 10K is a rite of passage every Memorial Day. One of the nation’s largest 10K races, this year’s event celebrates 25 years running. And on May 26, more than 40,000 runners and walkers will gather in Boulder to help celebrate.

“I think one of elements of why it [the event] works is that we’ve got tremendous community support,” says race director, Cliff Bosley. “We’re a part of the running community and have been a part for 25 years.”

Cliff’s father, Steve, started the Bolder Boulder back in 1979. That year, he wanted to put on a well-run track meet for kids because in his view, events at that time were not well organized. Steve used a friend, Frank Shorter, as a sounding board for ideas and Shorter suggested organizing a road race instead because it would be “easier” to plan.

Eight weeks later, the first Bolder Boulder took place with 2,700 participants.

Asked what’s going to be different about this year’s event, Cliff notes that it’s going to be a celebration that, if for no other reason, runners can say, “I did it. I ran the 25th Bolder Boulder.”

Cliff also notes that the T-shirt design will be a special one, too. “It’s going to a cool, commemorative piece.”

So be a part of local history and sign up for the 25th annual Celestial Seasonings Bolder Boulder. For info, call 303-444-RACE or register online at

In the May issue of Men’s Journal, Boulder was ranked the overall best place to live out of the 50 “healthiest, safest and sexiest” cities of between 50,000 to 500,000 people. Over the past four years, Boulder has been ranked in a number of other magazines, too.

• Thinnest City in America, Self, 2003

• One of the 10 Healthiest Places for Women to Live, Self, 2001 and 2000

• #1 Ranking in 10 Best Running Cities, Runner’s World, 2001

• #2 of Fittest Cities in America, Shape, 2000

• #1 Green and Clean City of 50 Most Alive Places to Live, Modern Maturity Magazine, 2000

• #4 of Best Places, Forbes, 2000

• One of America’s Fittest Cities, Health, 2000

• Best Place to Be an Uberjock, Outside, 1999

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