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by Shireen Malik, founder of the Bolder Tribe

It all started on a chilly Bolder Boulder morning in 1982.
Five of my Oriental dance students donned warm attire and joined me at the
top of the hill on Folsom Street, just south of Valmont, beginning the
tradition of entertaining along the route of the popular road race.
Our little band of finger cymbal-playing performers danced for hours and
hours, as the elite racers zoomed by, followed by wave after wave of citizen
runners and walkers. We stayed until the last weary stragglers passed by. It
was an exhausting day, but fantastically fun to see the surprised and
delighted expressions as thousands of Bolder Boulderites crested the hill and
spotted us for the first time.
In the early years of the race, with fewer runners, there were also fewer
rules. It wasn’t unusual to see a leap frogging group - runners hopping over
each other along the route. Costumed Marx Brothers and Blues Brothers
dallied and danced with us before continuing on their way. The zany lawn
chair brigade stopped in front of us, executing their display of synchronized
Our group was asked to perform in the C.U. stadium as part of the 1986
post-race festivities. In keeping with the spirit of the Bolder Boulder,
running shoes had by that time become part of our costuming tradition, a
rather incongruous and comical feature with our sparkly, jingly outfits. But
rather than wear shoes at this special event, we decided to dance barefooted
in the stadium - better for performing choreographed dances. As everyone
in this town knows, the weather is very unpredictable on Memorial Day
weekend, and that particular race day was hot, hot, hot. Before the first
dance was over, our feet began to burn on the sizzling astro turf. We put
shoes on, finished our performance, and headed off to soak our blistered
feet in tubs of cold water. What a memorable Memorial day that was!
The 1987 Bolder Boulder was particularly significant for me, as I was in
the last stretch of my pregnancy. I sat on a chair drumming with the
drummers, as dancers danced and runners ran. All that music and lively
activity must have encouraged my babe to come out into the world and see
what was going on, for he was born the day after the race! As a personal
ritual, Zander and I ran the race together when he turned thirteen.
I rejoined the Tribe the following year and continued on until 2002 when
we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of participation with the Bolder
Boulder. One of the original dancers, Nara, was with us - as always. She
was the most dedicated member of our group and never missed a race. In all
those years I cancelled once because of rain, but Nara showed up anyway!
After our celebratory year, I passed the tribal torch to my dear friend Lisa,
who continues to organize the eclectic gathering of dancers, drummers, and
old friends who show up each year. Whenever possible, I run the race now,
just for fun, and enjoy the entertainment from the “other side.” Panting my
way up that tough hill on Folsom, the sound of drums and cymbals spurs
me on. As I reach the top and come upon the colorful Tribe in running
shoes and wild sunglasses, I always ask myself why I’m working so hard – I
could be dancing instead!