It’s pretty simple actually. Instead of one big start with all 40,000+ people taking off at once, we divide everyone into about 100 waves. They’re organized by people’s expected pace so that everyone can run with people their own speed. Waves start with the fastest runners, then go to slower runners, then joggers, then walkers.

Do all waves require qualifying? No!

The BOLDERBoulder is open to everyone. Only the first 39 waves require qualification — meaning people in those waves need to provide proof of their running pace. All other waves are open to everyone on a first-come, first-serve basis. Qualified Waves are only for people who finish faster than 75 minutes.

How do I pick what wave to be in?

When you register you pick the type of “Participant Category” you think you belong in. You’ll automatically be put in a wave that is right for you or based on your qualifying time. Learn more about the Wave Categories on the right.

Can I change waves once I register? Yes.

If you want to change waves or to run in a qualified wave, we can make that happen, assuming there are still bibs available in the wave you want. The cost is $10.   

To request a bib number change prior to the race, email us at [email protected] – Note: you won’t be allowed to move up to a faster wave on race day unless you have the correct bib number for that wave. 

For all bib changes on Saturday or Sunday, bring us your original bib number and come to our SOLUTIONS tent at the Race Weekend Sports Exhibit on the Pearl Street Mall.  

We will also accommodate Race Day bib changes for $15 – bring your original bib number and come to our SOLUTIONS TENT at the START AREA in the parking lot near 30th and Walnut beginning at 5:30 a.m. on Monday May 27th

Can I start with friends or family? Yes.

We can help you start with your family or friends; the rest of the day is up to you. If you want to be in the same start wave, register everyone online at the same time. Enter the names of those you want to run with in the appropriate field. Qualifying rules still apply, and everyone in your group will be placed in the slowest person’s wave (it helps if everyone chooses the same participant type).

How do I enter a qualified wave? Four ways.

During registration, you will be asked to provide proof of qualification in a drop down selection. Use This Chart to figure out your correct wave.

  1. Use last year’s BOLDERBoulder time: Anything 1:08:00 or faster gets you in the perfect qualified wave for your pace. Check your results.
  2. Use last year’s ColderBOLDER 5K time: Anyone who finished faster than 32:38 minutes automatically gets in a qualified wave. Check your results.
  3. Use other races: Any timed race between three miles and a marathon completed within one year of the upcoming BOLDERBoulder can get you in a qualified wave. Check the Equivalent Times Chart to see how your race time translates to a 10K time.
  4. Use a GPS-Tracked Time: Submit a link to or screenshot of a GPS recorded run 3 miles or longer, run after last year’s BOLDERBoulder, and email to [email protected]. We will let you know which wave you have qualified for.
What other races can be used to qualify?


Any timed race over two miles completed within one year of the upcoming BOLDERBoulder gets you in a qualified wave. Check back here beginning in March for featured official qualifier races.

Can I submit my race to be a qualifier? Yes!

Any timed road race over 2 miles that posts results online can apply to be a BOLDERBoulder qualifier race.

As a qualifier race, you agree to promote your event as a qualifier for the BOLDERBoulder in at least two social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All qualifier races will be promoted on BOLDERBoulder social pages two weeks before your event.

Email us at [email protected] and we will contact you with specifics.

Wave Categories

Qualified Running Waves 
Require proof. The first 39 waves are reserved for runners who finish faster than 75 minutes. Proof must be within one year of the upcoming BOLDERBoulder.

Non-Qualified Running Waves 
DO NOT require proof. For anyone planning to finish faster than 75 minutes (12:04 per mile).

Jogging Waves 
DO NOT require proof. For anyone planning to jog, and finish between 75 and 90 minutes (12:04 – 14:29 per mile).

Jogging/Walking Waves 
DO NOT require proof. For anyone planning to jog more than walk, and finish between 1:30:00 and 1:40:00 (14:29 – 16:06 per mile).

Walking/Jogging Waves 
DO NOT require proof. For anyone planning to walk more than jog, and finish between 1:40:00 and 1:50:00 (16:06 – 17:42 per mile).

Walking Waves
DO NOT require proof. For anyone planning to walk, and finish between 1:40:00 and 2:16:20 (17:42 – 22:00 per mile).

Course Cutoff 
All participants must pass the intersection of Folsom and Arapahoe by 11:27am, and finish by 11:45am to stay ahead of the Pro Race. For the last wave, this works out to a 2:16:40 finish time and a 22:00 pace.