Runners have a chance to go high at the first-ever Boulderthon in October that will test the limits of not only the their ability to complete a half or full marathon at altitude, but also that of the organizer’s ability to pull off the premiere event in Boulder, CO.

Set in the foothills of the Rockies, Boulderthon consists of half and full marathons, with a first-ever downtown finish and post-race celebration that the race organizers, Stronger Faster Boulder, promise to be an inspiring and unforgettable experience.

The race, set for October 11, 2020, has been three years in the making, but the goal from Day One has been to create Colorado’s signature Fall marathon.

“Our hope is that runners and spectators from around the world will come to Boulder to participate in the city’s marathon,” explains race director Phil Dumontet, who points out that the area, after all, is known as one of the great training grounds for Olympians, world-class athletes and leisure runners alike.

“With Boulderthon, everyone will be able to experience an exciting race in a setting where natural beauty meets metropolitan excitement at the foot of the Rockies,” he adds.

Based on the numbers for the Boulder Backroads race that Dumontet already organizes, a target of 2000 runners was set for the first year. But considering how numbers are trending, they now anticipate close to 3000 runners for the half and full marathons. 

The challenge for the runners – and the organizers – is the simple fact that running a high-altitude marathon will definitely demand more out of a person. After all, at altitude there are lower levels of oxygen and this forces the body to work harder to produce more red blood cells.

The organizers are urging runners from out of the area to arrive in town a few days early to acclimate to the altitude — and to enjoy all that Boulder has to offer. And, oh yes, drink plenty of water. (On the flip side, when runners return to lower altitudes, they may very well feel like Superman or Superwoman since muscles get a natural boost when additional oxygen is available.) 

From a race organization and production standpoint, the only challenge that differs from any other race event is to ensure ample amounts of hydration. To that end they have partnered with Boulder-based Skratch Labs to provide a pure, natural form of nutrition mix, and with Eldorado Springs, an award-winning local spring water source, for all of its starting line, on-course, and post-race hydration stations. 

The organizers are currently partnering with Boulder Running Company as the run specialty retail sponsor. It is a preferred signup location for the race, with all runners receiving a special discount and free training tech T-shirt if they sign up in-store at the race’s registration kiosk. In addition, Boulder Runner Company is promoting Boulderthon in its store windows with large banners, as well as in-store with the dedicated registration kiosk, through its e-mail newsletters and during its weekly group runs.

Other sponsors include Frasca, Ozo Coffee, Cured, Hydrate IV, Purely Elizabeth, Skratch Labs, Eldorado Springs and the Downtown Boulder Partnership. Others expected to join the fun are Crunch Boulder, CYL Sauna Studio, Stretch Zone and Runners Roost, along with many other local partners.

Despite the city’s high altitude, the course is fairly flat overall, making Boulderthon a great event for both beginning marathoners and elite athletes. This race will also serve as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

The course begins at the Boulder Reservoir and provides sweeping views of the Flatirons. The finish line awaits runners in the heart of the city, on the famous bricks of Pearl Street Mall. There, runners and spectators will be able to enjoy the after-party, surrounded by some of Boulder’s best-known shops, restaurants and bars.

It all adds up to a unique runner’s high – and, for the race organizers, a similar successful experience – that can only be reached at altitude.