After two missed years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the famous Bolder Boulder 10K Memorial Day race made its triumphant return to town on Monday.

This year’s event was no doubt a welcome return to normalcy for many of the event’s 40,000 participants. But Monday’s race marked a particularly special occasion for Richard Quigley of Longmont.

Eight-six-year-old Quigley — a longtime runner and athlete known as “Grampa Dude” by his family — set a record course time for his age group while running this year’s 10K alongside his son, Todd, daughter-in-law, Jenn, and three grandkids, Tanner, Finn and Grace. He finished the race in one hour, 17 minutes and 41 seconds.

This is a photo from the 1982 Bolder Boulder. In the center is Richard Quigley running with his son, Todd, on his shoulders. (Courtesy photo).

“It’s been a life dream of his” to break his age-group record, according to his older son, Brian Quigley. “He loves the Bolder Boulder. It’s been a big tradition in our family — he’s already thinking about the next one.”

Richard Quigley has lost count of the number of Bolder Boulder races he’s run over the years since the inaugural event in 1979, but he recalls running some of the early races with Brian and Todd. In 1982, he said he and his sons, who were 10 and 7 years old at the time, ran the race together as a team.

“Todd would start off and run half a mile, and then I would pick him up in full stride, put him up on my shoulders, and we would do the next half a mile,” said Quigley. “We would switch that way — half a mile of him running, half a mile on my shoulders, When we got to the stadium, he finished [the race] himself.”

The family relocated to Santa Barbara, Calif. for over two decades before moving back to Boulder in 2005. But after the Quigleys returned to Boulder, Richard Quigley started running the Bolder Boulder regularly again.

In addition to the Bolder Boulder, Quigley has run marathons — most recently, he ran the Malibu Marathon in 2012, at age 76 — as well as competing in triathlons and long bike rides throughout his life. He said the key to staying in good enough health to run races at his age is daily exercise.

“I keep a log of my daily exercising — I’ve probably got the last 20 years. I’m a weird old aerospace engineer,” he explained. “If you keep a record, you can see what you did, and you don’t miss a day. Missing one day a month is fine, but more than that and I kind of get after myself.”

This race proved a more daunting task for Quigley than others he had done in the past. Todd Quigley said that COVID-19 lockdowns and health challenges had made it difficult for his father to get out and run as frequently as he would have liked, but that he and his son, Tanner, were there to support Richard Quigley in his goals.

“This was a big challenge, and a big concern (was) whether he was gonna be able to keep upright and finish it,” Todd Quigley said. “Tanner and I both were there by his side to where if he needed a hand for stabilization, or his feet couldn’t keep him up, we’d be there to get him across.”

Richard Quigley was grateful to have the support of his family and to do the race with them this year.

“I really appreciated my son and grandson prodding me along,” Quigley said. “Just getting out there and doing that stuff is neat — better than sitting at home on your butt all the time.”

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Amber Carlson
2022-06-02 19:58:20
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