Having been a student-athlete at the University of Colorado the past four years, Chris Graham has heard all about the Bolder Boulder.
Graham figured he needed to experience it himself, and on Monday, the Buffaloes' place kicker completed the race with former teammate Robert Orban. It was the first 10K for both.
"It's my last year here and it's a pretty big tradition around here, so it was important to get to experience it before I left," said Graham, who is from Burlingame, Calif., and will be a senior this year with the Buffs. "I'm really happy I was able to do it, especially being the biggest 10K in America. It's a big deal, I think."
Earlier this spring, Graham and Orban, who was the Buffs' holder for field goals and extra points last year, made it a goal to complete the race, but didn't want to just finish. They wanted to cross the finish line on Folsom Field in a specific time.
"We set a goal about a month ago of beating 55 minutes, and we beat that so we were happy," Graham said.
Orban had an official time of 54 minutes, 18.15 seconds, while Graham finished in 54:18.63.
During the race, there were moments when one would surge ahead of the other, but they were able to stay close to each other throughout the course.
Despite never running a 10K before Monday, Graham felt good about his ability to complete the race and run a solid time.
"Our football training has been getting us pretty ready," Graham said. "The last week I ran a little bit on my own. We're all in pretty good shape on the team."
Orban had a different experience in getting ready for the race, as he completed his time with the Buffs in January.
"It was interesting, because I was done with football training as of January, so you kind of saw the difference," he said. "I was able to just do running along the creek path, sometimes with Chris and sometimes alone. We both did different kinds of training, but we were both able to do it."
Participating in the Bolder Boulder was special for Orban, who was born in Littleton and graduated from Regis High School before coming to CU.
"I love Folsom and I've been coming to games since I was 6," he said. "Somehow living in Colorado my whole life, this is my first time up here (at the Bolder Boulder)."
Orban made the event extra special by running for his late grandfather, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Richard F. Bull.
After running 6.2 miles, Orban joked, "Definitely not the best feeling I've ever had in Folsom, but it's top 10 I'll say."
Graham and Orban have both made a lot of memories as football players in Folsom Field. Graham hopes to make a few more this fall with the Buffs, but said this was one he won't forget.
"It's definitely rewarding, but maybe not as rewarding as getting a win on Folsom," he said.