Originally published in the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Daily Times-Call.

Dad was a serious runner. He ran 10 or more miles every day. Nothing stopped him, so the bar would be set high. If I asked him to run the Bolder Boulder with me, I needed to be committed.

In my last column I noted that I’d never heard of the Bolder Boulder until many years ago when I moved to Colorado. Friends from Louisiana were visiting to attend the event. I had no idea what it was, or why people from out of state would be coming. Over time, I learned a great deal more.

One day I found myself with one of the founders of the Bolder Boulder. He asked me if I was going to participate that year. I told him I was a runner, but marathons weren’t my gig. Laughing, he explained that it was a 10K. That sounded better, until I learned how far a 10K really is. To be exact, it is 6.21371 miles. “How far do you run each week?”, he asked. I told him that I was running about 18 miles a week. “You’ve got it licked,” he said. “A little extra training and you’ll understand the full Bolder Boulder experience!”

I know that the Bolder Boulder provides many experiences, and running the entire course is only one of them. But Dad would surely want to run the entire way, and I wanted to have a great time with Dad.

I asked Dad if he’d ever heard of the Bolder Boulder. Sure, he said. It’s a famous marathon. I explained that it is actually a 10K, and said that I’d been thinking about trying it. His eyes lit up and he said, “Let’s do it!”

The Bolder Boulder is one of the most well-known, best branded events not only in our state, but throughout the world. Marathon misunderstanding aside, the event is a singular success in terms of branding. It is a brand that beloved. The experience truly is for everyone with many different ways to be engaged. It brings different communities together to build one awesome experience. Oh, and by the way the marketing is awesome.

Dad and I ran that year, and for many years after. We ran with the Marines, with Dad in his Marine t-shirt. Dancers and musicians provided the background theme, neighbors and bystanders provided the motivation. Soon we were rounding the corner and heading up the slope to Folsom Field. Entering the stadium I was overwhelmed. We did it! We ran the entire way and the entire stadium seemed to be cheering just for us. Heading to the stands later to meet the rest of the family, Dad slapped me on the back and said, “You did good. Think you can beat your time next year?” The challenge was thrown and the Bolder Boulder became a part of our lives.

Years later, I walked the route with a friend. It was a totally different experience than I’d had in the past. We, too, had a grand time.

Dad is no longer by my side as I trot the local trails. But I can still hear him saying, “How are you doing?” and “Do you have it in you?”

That’s how the Bolder Boulder is. It stays with you. It is more than a memory. It’s an aspirational goal. Brands that build upon such celebrated experiences are bound to be successful – as this event is. From the beginning, when it was just an idea, it has evolved into something you can’t help but admire and want to be a part of each Memorial Day in Boulder. Well done.

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
She may be reached at 303-651-6612; scornay@comm-concepts.com; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Communication Concepts; Twitter @CommConceptsPR; or Linked In.

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