In my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, Memorial Day and the Bolder Boulder 10K race are synonymous. This massive run/walk race pulls upwards of 50,000 registrants each year. That’s half the population of Boulder!

Some folks run, some walk the Bolder Boulder 10K race. Photo © Laurel Kallenbach

Yes, the race attracts many elite athletes, and there are sure to be some Olympian hopefuls here in preparation for the 2012 Summer Games in London. But mostly the race is for everybody: kids, people in wheelchairs, grandmas, and Boulder’s fit and finest. (Boulder is one of the fittest towns in America.)

Onlooks cheer the runners and wave flags. Photo © Laurel Kallenbach

And while there’s a competitive spirit, the race’s motto is: “It’s not about the time you run, it’s about the time you have.”

A runner in a Big Bird costume stops to chat with fans. Photo © Laurel Kallenbach

And Boulderites—as well as visitors from all over the state and country—have a grand time. Some people wear funny costumes, some attach balloons to their hats so that they can be recognized in the crowd.

Belly-dancers are always popular sideline entertainment. Photo © Laurel Kallenbach

Along the race route are bands to provide entertainment. And each year, a troupe of belly-dancers add an air of exoticness. Crowds line the street and cheer; dogs bark their happiness. At mile markers, race officials with bullhorns announce the next water/Gatorade station.

Fun run: The annual Memorial Day Bolder Boulder race. Photo © Laurel Kallenbach

Some people run, some walk, some run with strollers. Along the way, onlookers this year had a cotton candy machine—popular with the younger runners. Midway along the route, someone always serves bacon?!?

Some young Bolder Boulder runners stop for free cotton candy along the race route. Photo © Laurel Kallenbach.

So far I’ve always been a happy spectator, watching my husband Ken whisk by on the part of the race course that’s only about half a mile from our house. But maybe some day that will be me with a numbered bib pinned to my chest, crossing the finish line as the crowds scream their approval at Folsom Stadium on the University of Colorado Campus.

Laurel Kallenbach, freelance writer and editor

P.S. What’s your favorite way to celebrate Memorial Day?

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