It’s Time To Run: Major Road Races Are Making Their Return To Colorado
For the first time since 2019 - aka "pre-pandemic" - major road races are making their return to Colorado.
According to the Denver Post, major Colorado road races such as the Colfax Marathon — a collection of races including a marathon, half marathon, 10-miler, 5K, and marathon relay — as well as the Bolder Boulder 10K and one of Colorado’s oldest and largest road racing events, the Cherry Creek Sneak will all be taking place this year, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic that shook up the world.
About Colorado's Major Road Races
The Colfax Marathon: The collection of races that make up the Colfax Marathon will all take place between Saturday, May 14, and Sunday, May 15 - the standard date for this particular event; the Denver Post says that based on sign-ups so far, race organizers expect in excess of 15,000 to register by the time race weekend rolls around.
“For the events around the country that are coming back online, generally speaking, registration is around 25% below where they were in 2019,” said Creigh Kelley, race director for the Colfax Marathon.
“The races that were suspended for two years, they’re not coming back at full capacity. They lost some of their audience. Now, will they get it back eventually in 2023? Probably.”
The Colfax Marathon is one of a select few larger events that had been postponed rather than flat out canceled due to COVID-19; race officials postponed the 2021 event from May to October of last year, thus, the same event is being put on twice within seven months.
If the Colfax Marathon races attract 15,000 next month, that would represent a 25% drop over 2019; between both the 2021 and 2022 races, officials expect the cumulative total [for both races] to fall somewhere between 29,000 to 30,000 participants.
What will change about this year's race? This year’s Colfax races will look like previous years with one exception - according to the Denver Post, protocols were adjusted at aid stations last fall in deference to the pandemic that will now likely be permanent.
“In the old days, somebody would hand you your cup,” said race chief executive Andrea Dowdy.
“With COVID, the tables were spread farther apart, the cups were pre-filled, and you reached for your own cup. That way the volunteer didn’t have to be face-to-face with the runner. We’re going to stay that way. The runners liked it, and it made it easier for the volunteers.”
The Bolder Boulder 10K: The Bolder Boulder 10K will be back this Memorial Day for the first time since 2019, featuring everything including its famous finish at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field,
The race’s traditional Memorial Day tribute in the stadium will follow the conclusion of the pro races.
According to race director Cliff Bosley, this year’s theme for the Bolder Boulder 10K will be, “The Tradition Continues”.
“What that means is something different for everybody,” Bosley said. “But if you like the Memorial Day tribute, we’re going to have one in honor of a World War II veteran. We’re going to have a professional race”, Bosley said.
This year, Bosley is expecting 35,000 or more to register for the 10K by race day; back in 20219, the Bolder Boulder 10K had 41,197 finishers, making it America’s fourth-largest road race.
”As you anticipate spring, you anticipate the Bolder Boulder,” Bosley said, as per the Denver Post.
“It’s thousands of people running. It’s the heart-and-soul elements: the stadium finish, the huge wave start. It sets up summer. It is that Memorial Day experience. It’s been put on pause for three years. Well, it’s just been unpaused.”
The Cherry Creek Sneak: According to the Denver Post, the Cherry Creek Sneak, one of Colorado’s oldest and largest road racing events that posed as a rite of spring for many metro area runners, will not return after this year’s event.
"The Sneak", which began as a 5-mile race intended to help runners train for the Bolder Boulder Memorial Day 10K race, attracted as many as 17,000 runners back when it first began 40 years ago.
This year's event, which officially marks the 40th anniversary of the Cherry Creek Sneak, will reportedly include 10-mile, 5-mile, and 5K races on Sunday, Apr. 24.
Although it was initially the COVID-19 pandemic that ultimately kept the event on a two-year hiatus, race director Pat Downing says that the 2022 Cherry Creek Sneak will, unfortunately, be the last of its kind due to a “precipitous” drop-in registration numbers.
“Registration numbers just aren’t bouncing back,” Downing said. “We were forced to take a two-year hiatus because of COVID, and we just haven’t had enough registrations to be able to continue to conduct the event.”
For more information regarding any of the races mentioned above, visit your preferred race's designated website by selecting one of the links below:
- The Colfax Marathon: runcolfax.org
- The Boulder Boulder 10K: bolderboulder.com
- The Cherry Creek Sneak: cherrycreeksneak.com
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