People often think of an entrepreneurial path as one born from the spark of an idea never thought of before, or at the very least, never acted upon by someone else. This was not necessarily the case for Cliff Bosley, race director of the BOLDERBoulder. Cliff’s father Steve, started the race in 1979 out of a desire to hold a track meet for kids locally. This simple idea evolved into what is now considered “America’s All-Time Best 10K”, drawing over 50,000 entrants from all over the world to the Memorial Day event every year. But receiving this title was due in large part to Cliff’s success in taking over the family business.
Passion as an avenue for success
Growing up alongside the BOLDERBoulder, Cliff was constantly involved in the preparations of the race. His first job as a 6th grader was registering participants for the event. Being the son of the founder, he observed the detail-oriented process required to put on the race evolve into further intricacy as it grew. After graduating college Cliff worked for the bank which was the founding sponsor of the race as a leader in the marketing and promotions department, which include the BOLDERBoulder. After 8 years at the bank, Cliff’s father presented him with the idea of separating the operation of the race from the bank to operating independently, to which he responded with great enthusiasm. “Without knowing it, I had been preparing for this job my entire life!” Cliff told the class. There was really no person more passionate, closely tied to the race, and better suited for the position than Cliff. Under his direction came innovations and adjustments to efficiency that improved the race, all the while continuing to focus on the initial vision of celebrating running and bringing together the Boulder community.
It takes a village
Cliff’s attitude was humble admitting how much he owed to the local community for making the BOLDERBoulder what it is today. As the finish line has shifted over the years from North Boulder Park, then to Boulder High School, and finally to its forever home of CU’s Folsom Field, these adjustments have led to the bringing together of many different communities of Boulder. For example, the BOLDERBoulder’s ultimate move to have the finish line on CU’s campus provided an opportunity to showcase the University of Colorado and involve CU Alumni, CU students and connect the university to the local community. Additionally, over the years, resident on the race course and neighborhoods have decided to participate in their own way by having music or setting up obstacle courses on their lawn like the mid-race giant slip and slide. “Some people come for the running; most people come for the experience,” Cliff emphasized, “because the race has become so much more than just a competition.”
Beyond Cliff, eight year-around employees, 65-70 seasonal employees, dozens of contractors and over 2,200 volunteers are required to put on the race, which includes a year’s worth of planning every minute detail to avoid any chaos or confusion. This entails everything from the amount of people needed to hand out water to runners and all the volunteer elementary school students necessary to pack 50,000 lunches for racers to enjoy at the finish line. It’s clear that such a big event can’t just be tossed together easily, and Cliff is certainly the perfect ringleader to coordinates it all and keep the run running!