Small-town middle schoolers train for the crush of runners known as the famous Bolder Boulder

YUMA, Colo. - An army of runners will race in this year's Bolder Boulder, the 35th annual 10K known in Boulder for drawing tens of thousands of participants.

Race organizers expect 50,000 runners this year, including a group of middle schoolers from Yuma, a tiny town on the eastern plains. The group is motivated by physical education teacher Rory Lynch.

"I started doing 5Ks and 10Ks when I was in college and I just loved the healthy aspect of it," Lynch said.

According to Lynch, the group always talks about how they're representing the little town on the plains, and even though they're small, they can still compete with the bigger schools.

"This is great for the kids," said Darwin Pardoe, a retired coach from Yuma Middle School. "Gives them a great idea of what to do."

Lynch taught the group how to circle around and grab a sip of water without losing their momentum or rhythm.

"Each mile I get closer I think, just five more miles. Four more miles. Three more miles," said Joey Ross, a fifth grader at Yuma Middle School. "And then you eventually get there and you're happy."

Their first year running as a school group in the Bolder Boulder was in 1999, and they were the first school district outside of Boulder County to take part. This year, they're taking a tour of the University of Colorado Boulder campus, with a perk: staying in the dorms the night before the race.

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