Laura Thweatt didn’t sign up for the Bolder Boulder to battle for a win.
Once the race began, however, her competitiveness kicked in.
On Monday, Thweatt, 33, from Superior, wound up as the winner of the women’s citizens race at the 42nd edition of the Bolder Boulder. She crossed the finish line at Folsom Field in 35 minutes flat, officially. Neely Gracey of Lafayette was second in 35:05.
“I am (surprised), actually,” Thweatt said. “I had some ladies coming in hot on my heels and it’s Colorado, so you can’t come to a race and expect not to have to battle. I’m actually kind of shocked that I was able to hold off the win.”
Born and raised in Durango, Thweatt is a 2011 graduate of the University of Colorado, where she had a decorated career. She earned All-Big 12 honors five times and ran some of the best times in CU history in a variety of distances, from 800 meters to 10,000 meters.
Now running professionally for Saucony, Thweatt is coming off an injury and said she went into Monday after only three weeks of training.
“I just wanted to test out fitness and just have a good, hard effort,” she said. “So I came out and it was a blast. It was hard but it was great. This was a much more fun way to do a workout.”
Although she had a workout mindset, Thweatt said the competitive juices began to flow “immediately” after the race began.
“I didn’t want to go too fast, but I got into the second mile and I was like, ‘Ah, I’m in a race. I’m just gonna go for it and hope I can hang on,’” she said. “So, yeah, I got competitive and just ran hard. You can’t get rid of that.”
Throughout the race, Thweatt said she targeted the male runners ahead of her.
“Every guy, I was just trying to hang on and like chase people,” she said. “So, it was a fun way to get a hard effort as you’re just racing and people are cheering you on. It’s just a really fun environment.”
That’s not how she felt about the Bolder Boulder in her only previous time running this event. In 2013, she ran in the women’s international pro race. Her USA team was third and Thweatt finished 12th, in 35:37.7.
“It was so brutal that I swore I’d never do this race again, but here I am,” she said with a laugh.
Monday was a better experience for Thweatt, who continues to keep her eye on the goal of a marathon in the fall.
“I’m still trying to figure out which one but all of this is kind of building towards the big goal in the fall,” she said. “I’m a marathoner. This is like a sprint for me.”
It was a successful sprint, too, as she exceeded her expectations.
“I’m in a better place than I thought it would be,” she said. “Coming off of injury, it’s just nice to be back out here and to kind of just feel like yourself again. That’s what I wanted today. To do this off very little training, I feel really good about that.”
Like Thweatt, Gracey is a former competitor in the international pro race. She ran in that competition in 2015 and 2017. A three-time qualifier for the Olympic trials, Gracey had her second son last year and has continued coaching, in addition to running.
Claire Benjamin from Louisville was third with a time of 35:25. A quartet of Boulder residents finished third through seventh: Sophie Seward (36:06), Melissa Dock (36:16), Erin McLaughlin (36:20) and Bryn Morales (36:22).