Frank Shorter honored to ‘reboot’ the Bolder Boulder – Boulder Daily Camera
Frank Shorter has carved out a remarkably successful life based on, as he often describes, the simple concept of putting one foot in front of the other. Then, repeat this movement as quickly and regularly as possible.
Shorter has always been on the move. And so his latest honour, one that will simultaneously recognize the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest accomplishments in American long-distance running history while providing a celebratory reboot to the Bolder Boulder, comes with a caveat. which goes against the very nature of Shorter.
As the official Bolder Boulder 2022 starter, Shorter, at least for a little while on Memorial Day morning, will have to stand still.
“I won’t be able to run,” Shorter said, “but I guess maybe I’ll run the course for fun another day.”
After two years on the sidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bolder Boulder is set to make its triumphant return when the 42nd edition of the nation’s largest 10-kilometre road race takes off on Monday morning.
Perhaps it’s fitting that it’s Shorter who will signal the official restart of one of Boulder’s greatest annual traditions.
This summer marks the 50th anniversary of an event widely credited with sparking a new enthusiasm in America for long-distance running, both competitive and recreational.
At the 1972 Olympics in Munich, just days after finishing fifth in the 10,000 kilometer race while setting an American record he had previously set in the qualifying heats, Shorter made history by winning the gold in the marathon. Shorter won the silver medal at the Montreal Games four years later, finishing behind an East German runner, Waldemar Cierpinski, who was later embroiled in a pervasive East German doping scandal.
He remains the only American athlete to win a pair of Olympic marathon medals.
“I never imagined 50 years ago what life might be like, literally and figuratively, 50 years from now,” Shorter said. “There are so many people, starting with that first race (Bolder Boulder) that I love to do, which is putting one foot in front of the other and going down the road. There are many people like me who have it for stress relief and relaxation. I discovered it when I was 10, and I like to think that I helped a lot of other people discover it maybe later.
“In a way, I’m in a very grateful mode now. It’s all part of the process, and the Bolder Boulder was one of the first major road races to take place in the 1970s. It’s always nice to know where you’re from, and that’s a big part of that.
Shorter, of course, is also part of Bolder Boulder’s rich history. He was there when the first race was launched in 1979, a competition that was more a sight than anything impressive for the few 2,700 participants who took part. Shorter won the third Bolder Boulder in 1981 – by then the entrants had already soared to 9,000 – in the first race which featured the festive finish within Folsom Field.
Shorter’s statue remains a must-see near Folsom Field, but this fixed pose and Shorter’s brief tenure Monday morning as the Bolder Boulders might be the only instances where Shorter isn’t a moving man. Once his official starter duties are complete, Shorter will rush to Folsom Field to take on his annual chore as television analyst for the show Bolder Boulder.
“It’s a celebration of the 50th anniversary of his victory in 1972, but it also represents him as champion in 1981 the third year,” said Bolder Boulder race director Cliff Bosley. “This third race in 1981 was the first to end at Folsom Field at the University of Colorado. He is therefore the first official finisher in Folsom of more than 1 million 300,000 people. He finished first. It’s a unique connection to racing and the University of Colorado, and Frank is kind of in the middle of it all.