BOULDER, Colo. – Voted America’s All-Time Best 10K, the BOLDERBoulder has been attracting runners from across the globe since 1979. And every year, runners and walkers have been met by Rosalie Ann Vigil at the halfway mark – although they know her by her nickname, Ms. Tutu.
“I'm the unofficial BOLDERBoulder cheerleader,” Rosalie told Tom Mustin.
For four decades, the legendary Ms. Tutu has been pumping up runners rocking her trademark outfit. An accomplished runner herself –- she’s ran 25 half marathons before hanging up her sneakers — she and some friends were asked in 1979 to be marshals for the brand new BOLDERBoulder. That gave Vigil an idea.
“I said, 'let's wear an outfit.' My daughters have these tutus. So we put the tutus on… and there it goes,” she said.
Since then, Rosalie and her quirky entourage have commandeered the corner of 19th and Elder every Memorial Day. They arrive at 5:30 a.m. and spend several hours cranking out an eclectic play list to energize tired runners.
“I love it. People come up to me and thank me and say, 'I was just ready to give up at the halfway mark,'” she said. “They're stopping to do the cupid shuffle, the electric slide. They're just dancing. They don't care. They love the race. They just want to dance and get on their way.”
Rosalie says ten hours of solid dancing takes its toll, but she does it for the runner.
“They go, 'thank you for being here.' It makes me feel good,” she said.
Last year, the BOLDERBoulder honored Rosalie with a banner thanking her for 40 years of tutus, tradition and fun.
Saying no one will take her corner, Rosalie says she has no thoughts of retiring any time soon. In fact, she insists she will be rooting runners on from a wheelchair. She’s also already grooming a new generation of tutu talent.
“My granddaughter is going to be my little protegé. And my great granddaughter hopefully, God willing, she'll come and help.”