BOULDER, Colo. - Only about 2,700 runners participated in the first BolderBOULDER.
"I was upset because I expected 4,000," said race founder Steve Bosley.
But this year -- 36 years later -- Bosley says approximately 52,000 will run or walk in the race. Of those, about 1,000 were expected to register on Monday morning.
The first wave of racers took off around 7 a.m. with the wheelchair racers, then the "A Wave" consisting of qualified runners. Scott Dahlberg won that wave with an average pace of 4:58 per mile.
2014 BolderBOULDER winners:
- Women's wheelchair race: Amanda McGrory
- Men's wheelchair race: Josh George
- Women's citizens race: Sarah Crouch
- Men's citizens race: Scott Dahlberg
- Women's elite race: Ethiopia's Mamitu Daska
- Men's elite race: Eritrea's Afewerki Berhane
The event is so large that various groups of runners and walkers continued to start every few minutes until nearly 9:30 a.m.
Elite international women started their races around 11:15 a.m. and the men started a few minutes later. Ethiopia's Mamitu Daska won the 10k for the women and Eritrea's Afewerki Berhane won for the men.
"We get all busy and then take a pause as you're driving somewhere and think: My goodness, 36 years how did that happen?"
The race has grown into the largest Memorial Day race, drawing runners, walkers and costumed characters from across the country.
Participants finish the 10k course at Folsom Field, where a Memorial Day was held at noon.
This year's ceremony included the delivery of the flags for the various military branches, honors for veterans of Iwo Jima, a swearing-in ceremony for new military members and a flyover with ex-military pilots.
"At first I didn't want to acknowledge Memorial Day, because I didn't want to seem like I was commercializing it. But we have added a piece at a time until we have a spectacular Memorial Day tribute," Bosley said.
The race is also about family. Steve Bosley's son, Cliff, ran in that first race when he was just 12 years old. Today, Cliff is the race director and remains committed to its core values and to the community that supports the race every year.
That impact and support also stretches overseas - inspiring those who serve our country to take part on the iconic race. The Bolder Boulder has launched satellite races across the world.
Kyle Schriever wrote on Facebook about the race: "On behalf of all the servicemembers here in Bagram, Afghanistan, thank you for holding the deployed Bolder Boulder 10K here this morning. It was a great race!"
For the Boulder community, the race team estimates the event makes an impact of about $10 million.