Bolder Boulder Runners Celebrate Sunshine and Blue Skies

Steve and Linda Bennet help their daughter Eloise over the finish line of the 2015 Bolder Boulder on Monday Memorial Day. (Paul Aiken / Daily Camera)
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Bolder Boulder 2015
Steve and Linda Bennet help their daughter Eloise over the finish line of the 2015 Bolder Boulder on Monday Memorial Day. (Paul Aiken / Daily Camera)

The rain clouds and gray skies that have plagued Boulder so far this month made way for bright blue skies and radiant sunshine on Monday as some 52,000 runners took to the city’s streets for the annual Bolder Boulder 10K race.

In one of the wettest springs on record, runners rejoiced at their good fortune and jogged in shorts, T-shirts, tank tops and sunglasses — no need for umbrellas or ponchos, as some had feared.

“It felt pretty good,” said Kent Fischmann after finishing the race. “I was happy it was nice out. I thought it would be cold and rainy today. It was nice and cool, it wasn’t windy. Beautiful. It felt great.”

Temperatures were in the low 40s for many of the early waves and came close to 60 degrees for the Memorial Day tribute ceremony.

Read more: ‘The spirit of our town’: Bolder Boulder runners celebrate sunshine, blue skies during 10K – Daily Camera.com

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A good day for Ethiopia as Belete Assefa claims second men’s pro win
Team USA places two in top five, finishes second

Belete Assefa
Ethiopia’s Belete Assefa crosses the finish line in 29 minutes, 4.13 seconds, the fastest winning time since 2009 but not among the top 10 fastest times in Bolder Boulder history. (Paul Aiken / Daily Camera)

It was a good day to be named Assefa in the International Team Challenge at the Bolder Boulder.

It was also a good day for Ethiopia.

Belete Assefa came on strong in the final quarter mile of the 10K course to win for the second time in his career in the men’s race, following up on a victory in the women’s race by Meskerem Assefa. The two winners are not related.

Belete Assefa led Ethiopia to its first team victory in the men’s race since 2012 and Meskerem Assefa led Ethiopia to the women’s title. It was the second career victory at the Bolder Boulder for Belete Assefa and the first for Meskerem Assefa.

Read more: A good day for Ethiopia as Belete Assefa claims second men’s pro win – DailyCamera.com

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Ethiopia’s Meskerem Assefa wins women’s pro race in first try

Meskerem Assefa
Team Ethiopia’s Meskerem Assefa passes cheering fans as she nears the finish during the women’s pro race Monday in the Bolder Boulder. (Mark Leffingwell / Daily Camera)

About a mile into the Bolder Boulder women’s elite race on Monday, Team USA’s Mattie Suver knew that winning was going to be a tough task.

It was around that first mile that Ethiopia’s Meskerem Assefa and Amane Gobena and Kenya’s Risper Gesabwa pulled away from the pack.

“They took off on mile one or so, and we tried to keep them in sight, hoping that some of them would come back,” Suver said. “My legs just couldn’t respond and go that fast right at the beginning.”

On this day, Assefa had the fastest legs, claiming the Bolder Boulder title in her first try.

The fourth consecutive Ethiopian to win, Assefa posted a time of 33 minutes, 31.09 seconds.

Read more: Ethiopia’s Meskerem Assefa wins women’s pro race in first try – DailyCamera.com

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Ben Payne wins men’s citizens race in fastest time since 2011
Memorial Day victory carries special meaning for Air Force major

Ben Payne
Bolder Boulder citizens race winner Ben Payne crosses the finish line with the fasted time since 2011. (Paul Aiken / Daily Camera)

At Monday’s 37th annual Bolder Boulder, a Memorial Day 10K race in honor of United States military servicemen and women, it was fitting that one of the country’s servicemen take home a championship.

In the men’s citizens race, 33-year-old Ben Payne took first place with a time of 30 minutes, 40.3 seconds. For Payne, who ran the race with the names of several family members and friends who lost their lives in service to their country emblazoned on a bib pinned to his back, the most important victory of his running career to date meant a little something extra.

“This is kind of my tradition,” Payne said. “My grandpa Ron was in the Navy, he was an F-4 pilot and he died back in 1958. There is a crew of U-28 pilots and navigators on there that crashed back in 2012, and that’s the aircraft I was flying. And Dave Lyon is a good friend of mine’s husband who died this past year.

Read more: Ben Payne wins men’s citizens race in fastest time since 2011 – DailyCamera.com

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Hard work pays off for Brittni Hutton with women’s citizens race win

Brittni Hutton
Alamosa runner Brittni Hutton wins the women’s citizens race in Monday’s Bolder Boulder. (Paul Aiken / Daily Camera)

A year ago, Brittni Hutton sat in the stands and watched friends run the Bolder Boulder, a stress fracture preventing her from competing.

This year, she wasn’t going to let anything stop her from running one of the world’s most famous 10K races.

On Monday, she not only competed, but won the women’s citizen’s race in 34 minutes, 46 seconds.

“I’m extremely grateful, extremely excited and really, really happy that all my hard work is finally paying off,” said Hutton, 25, who lives in Alamosa.

“(Last year) I was like, ‘I’m running this next year. I’m going to try to win it even.’ I had no idea what kind of shape I was going to be in at the time.”

As it turned out, the 2013 graduate of Oakland University in Michigan was in pretty darn good shape.

Read more: Hard work pays off for Brittni Hutton with women’s citizens race win – DailyCamera.com

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