Updated 5/24 – Wacker and Droddy join Team USA
10 years ago was the last time an American won the Bolder Boulder International Team Challenge. Sara Slattery, a two-time NCAA Champion while running for the Colorado Buffs, led team USA to the top of the podium. With red, white, and blue ribbons tied to her pig-tail braids and a CU Buffs logo temporarily tattooed to her cheek, she owned the day.
“Winning in Boulder is the best feeling I have ever had,” said Slattery. “It is an amazing feeling and the highlight of my career.”
The following year, she had a disappointing 13th place finish and vowed to come back and race hard for Boulder and CU. She also ran in 2012.
In 2012, she moved to Pheonix with her husband, CU Steepler Steve Slattery, and had 2 kids.
“The last few years of my running in 2009 to 2012, before I had kids, I was kind of battling injuries and running just wasn’t that much fun,” Slattery told John Meyer of the Denver Post.
But her running fitness has been coming back strong, recently clocking 32 minutes, 13 seconds in the 10,00m at the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford achieving the Olympic “A” qualifying standard and a trip to the Olympic Track Trials in Eugene, OR in July. If she can finish in the top three at the trials, she will go on to the Olympics in Rio. Consequently, she won the 10,000 meters at the Pan Am Championships nine years ago.
Slattery will lead the Team USA which includes Boulder and Colorado runners; Alia Gray, and Brianne Nelson. Nelson is a veteran to the race and for Gray, who was 10th at the Olympic Marathon Trials it will be her first Bolder Boulder experience. Also joining the team is last year’s citizen’s race winner, Brittni Hutton as is the tradition over the years.
On the men’s side Bobby Curtis will lead the team as he was the top American at last year’s International Team Challenge leading Team USA to a 2nd place finish. Curtis vowed to return, if for no other reason than the atmosphere.
“You go up a steep hill where you’re desperate — you just want to be done. You can start to hear the roar of the crowd, and then you get in, and you just forget everything. You can really take it to another level.” – Denver Post
Curtis will be supported by Bolder Boulder veteran Jared Ward who recently made the Olympic Marathon team and with Boulder’s Andy Wacker and Noah Droddy. Ben Payne who was first in the Citizen’s race last year, again moves up to compete for Team USA.
Full team lists are below.
New race format
The Bolder Boulder created the International Team Challenge in 1998 and has used the format for its pro races every year since. Teams of 3 athletes are invited to represent around 10 countries from around the world for one of the largest non-marathon prize purse in the country. Team Colorado was later added in order to celebrate and elevate some of the state’s best athletes. Last year the format changed again and there was an additional USA team added and they were now considered Teams Red, White, and Blue, with a twist: The teams wouldn’t be decided until the runners crossed the finish line affording the opportunity for Team USA to build the best team instead of splitting them into three. (There was many a year that the first American happened to be on Team Colorado – Clint Wells, Pete Julian.)
The course for the International Team Challenge has also changed over the years. It used to start in the stadium with team announcements and a huge fanfaire in front of the cheering crowds before starting in the stadium, heading out to Folsom Street, doing a 3 lap criterium style course on the street, before returning into the stadium for a lap, back out to Folsom for a few more laps before finishing up to the crowd once again in the stadium. A few years back the race changed to run the same course as the Citizen’s race starting on 30th next to the 29th Street Mall.
This year, the start line will once again move back to Folsom Street, close to the stadium. The new course looks to heighten crowd and runner energy as the elite races will start on the east side of Folsom and head North, as participants are finishing up the race on the west side of the street.
Final Team USA Rosters Set for 2016 BolderBOULDER
Women’s Bolder Boulder Team USA
Mattie Suver – Out do to injury
Men’s Bolder Boulder Team USA
NEW as of 5/24 * Abdi Abdirahman
For the last two years, the Americans have been competing as Team USA Red White and Blue, there is no longer a Team Colorado.