If you’re a running enthusiast in Boulder County you’ve probably heard about the Bolder Boulder 10k run. It’s the third largest road race in the United States and was recently named the best 10K by Runner’s World. There’s usually thousands of spectators, thousands of runners, random entertainment like slip n’ slides and music, outrageous running costumes, and it all starts this Monday on May 29th.

The race first started in 1979 as a Memorial Day Tribute that still continues today. The fastest time for the 6.2 mile race occurred in 1995, with a man named Josephat Machuka, who ran it in twenty seven minutes and fifty seconds. To give you an idea, that’s an average of about four and a half minutes per mile. Whew. I don’t think I could tie my shoe laces that fast. The race attracts people from all over the world and is a huge event, starting at 30th and Walnut and finishing at Folsom Field.

Races first took place in Ancient Greece, during the Olympic Games in 776 BC. It is thought by some archeologists and scholars that for the first thirteen years of the Games, there was only one event—a 600 foot-long foot race. The first marathon event happened over a thousand years later in 1896 in the Modern Olympic Games in Athens. The word ‘marathon’ comes from the Greek messenger, Pheippides, who was sent from Marathon to Athens to report that the Persians had been defeated at the Battle of Marathon. It was said that he ran the whole way without stopping, arrived in Athens at an assembly, burst out “We have won!”, and collapsed and died. There’s some debate on the story, including how far he ran, but most of the legends indicate that he ran over 150 miles.

The 1970’s marked a golden age for running, often referred to as ‘marathon mania’, when running long distances began to become extremely popular in ordinary citizen’s lives. The popularity is contributed to Frank Shorter, who won the Olympic men’s long distance race in 1972, and was the first American having done so since 1908. Around the same time women were just starting to be accepted as athletes, and they exceled in track and field, inspiring a generation of young runners. Nowadays, there are thousands of races and courses, ranging from the humble 3k to the daunting 140.6 mile race, and landscapes featuring flat streets and sand, to massive elevation changes. Not to mention, the off shoots of the typical marathon race, to Iron Man’s which feature running, swimming, and biking, and spartan races, mud runs, and color races, which usually feature obstacles, muddy terrain, and spray color. In the 21st century there’s many ways to get involved in running, ranging from running with friends or new friends on meet-up, downloading apps which provide a virtual trainer and training regimen, and many easy to difficult races to sign up for. And if you’re in Boulder on the 29th you should think about registering, it’s a race worth being in.