Finished Line: Bolder Boulder cancelled for the first time in 41 years

Marathon running race, people feet on city road

Let me get this straight.

You can protest (and possibly riot or loot) – with or without a mask – and that’s okay. Sort of. After all, there’s plenty to be upset about in America. However, it is “encouraged” to self-quarantine after such gatherings.

Really? Seems like by the very nature of a protest, peaceful or otherwise, at least a few rules are being broken. These are crowds, most of which have very good intentions, that don’t exactly seem like they’re in the mood for being told what to do by authorities.

There’s a silliness here that probably warrants more commentary, but not in this space.

But here’s something very serious.

Here’s what you cannot do: Run for 6.2 miles in Boulder, Colo. in September, a little more than three months from now. Sadly, it was announced yesterday that the Bolder Boulder – which had already been moved from Memorial Day to Labor Day – will now have to wait until 2021.

Obviously, everyone understands “why” during these times. But will “these times” be exactly they are right now come September?

Have you ever tried to run for 6.2 miles at 5,430 feet above sea level while experiencing respiratory problems or fever?

Me neither.

I know. I know. You might have “it” without knowing it. I’m being short sighted. Irresponsible.

Take me out of the equation though. Who is more likely to be responsible: An avid runner who’s trained to run a 10K in under an hour (and who monitors their physical condition on a daily basis)?… or a protestor? I know, I’m generalizing – again, very irresponsible – but think about it.

I have to confess, I’m not a runner. But regardless of my own sporting passions, it’s a fact that the Bolder Boulder is an institution; it’s taken place for 41 years. Runner or not, the Bolder Boulder is Colorado. And even though I’m not a runner per se, I have run the Bolder Boulder – once. I’m glad I did it, I can say I did – and it was fun. But fun or not, running that far is hard work. Point being, I have a sincere appreciation for the event and the people who run it.

And it kills me to see it cancelled.

At the risk of instant and angry backlash, aren’t we being hasty in such decisions?

My guess is that race officials didn’t want to cancel, but the pressure to do so has to be immense – nobody wants to be accused of making irresponsible decisions on behalf of the masses.

But this makes me appreciate the NFL and its hesitance to make hardline stances about what football will or won’t look like in September.

I’ll be curious to see if there’s a spike in COVID-19 cases about two weeks from now, about two weeks from when every social distancing rule in the book has been broken. Remember, this isn’t a commentary on protests – I’ve got no issue there – but when large crowds gather all the rules and sanitation disappear. Personally, I couldn’t care less, but I am very interested to see how the protests affect the spread of the virus.

Hypothetically, if there isn’t a serious increase in cases, wouldn’t running the Bolder Boulder seem pretty safe? I’m not a scientist or a doctor, but if crowds all over the country aren’t spreading the coronavirus, wouldn’t it stand to reason that a crowd of very healthy, very mindful individuals in Boulder, Colo. wouldn’t spread it either? Two weeks from now, and potentially with more information in hand, will those who operate the Bolder Boulder wish they had a do-over on this decision?

This is a tough one, no doubt. And I do empathize with those who have to make decisions on a grand scale in such difficult times.

By the way, has anyone been by Wash Park lately? It’s a steady stream of joggers. Again, I’ve got no issue with that, but shouldn’t it mean something?

One of these days, we’re going to have to break out of the current pattern and into the pattern of life.

I wish one of those days was Labor Day, where Colorado’s runners would gather to run in Boulder.

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