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Phil DiStefano named 44th Bolder Boulder official starter

May 13—His tenure as Chancellor at the University of Colorado is coming to an end. And while Phil DiStefano isn't planning to leave the campus entirely, he nonetheless has a few final chores on his to-do list.

Getting the 44th Bolder Boulder on its way is one of them.

CU's outgoing Chancellor has been tabbed as the official starter for the annual Memorial Day 10K festival. DiStefano has served 15 years as Chancellor and has been part of the CU community for 50 years.

CU recently tabbed Justin Schwartz as DiStefano's replacement. The executive vice president and provost at Penn State, Schwartz begins his duties at CU on July 1.

DiStefano joins a wide-ranging list of local luminaries who have served as the Bolder Boulder's official starter, including Olympic medalists Frank Shorter, Davis Phinney, Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn; former governor Bill Owens; and CU athletics leaders like former football coach Gary Barnett and longtime men's basketball coach Tad Boyle.

DiStefano joined CU as an assistant professor in the school of education in 1974. Although he is retiring as the Chancellor, DiStefano plans on maintaining a faculty position in the education department.

The 2024 edition of the Bolder Boulder will be the third following a two-year hiatus due to COVID, and race director Cliff Bosley reports the registration numbers are trending close to the pre-pandemic levels with Memorial Day two weeks away.

The Bolder Boulder featured 47,250 entrants in the final pre-COVID race of 2019, and reached the 50,000 mark in 10 of the 12 prior races. The 2022 race's comeback edition drew about 34,000 participants, and that number inched over 40,000 last year. With two weeks still to go, Bosley is hopeful for a run at 50,000 again this year.

"Race registration numbers certainly are tracking as the 2019 race," Bosley said. "It certainly was challenging through the COVID years. Getting the race back off the ground in 2022 was also challenging from the perspective that we hadn't done it in three years and we were still operating with a smaller team. We had a thin team in 2022 and a little less thin in '23 and a little less thin here in '24. So we are able to bring more people in to help us do what we do."