Laura Thweatt surprisingly hasn’t run in the Bolder Boulder despite living in Boulder for the better part of a decade.
So it worked out nicely, then, that she’ll get to make her debut a decidedly patriotic one.
Thweatt, a former running standout and honors graduate at Durango High School, will run as part of a three-runner Team USA today.
“Unfortunately, because of some injuries, they needed another runner, so somehow I landed a spot on there, and I’m very, very excited and very honored,” Thweatt said in a recent phone interview with The Durango Herald, seemingly beaming through the phone.
Thweatt, a University of Colorado graduate, will be joined by Deena Kastor and Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce for the Bolder Boulder. Kastor has won the event three times and was a bronze medalist at the 2004 Olympics, and Rothstein-Bruce is coming off an eighth-place finish in last year’s Olympic Track and Field Trials in the 10,000-meter race.
Recently, Thweatt set a personal best in the 10-kilometer race at the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford University. She clocked in at 32 minutes, 15 seconds, which helped her grab a spot with Team USA for today’s race.
“I always wanted to do the Bolder Boulder, and believe me, I never thought my first time would be running in the elite race, let alone on the U.S. team,” Thweatt said.
“I’d run a couple of 10Ks on a track in college, none of which were that fast time-wise, so running a month ago at the Payson Jordan Invitational was kind of my first real race at 10K on a track, and it went really well,” she said. “And I definitely think it helped me get a position in the elite race at Bolder Boulder.”
It’ll be Thweatt’s second experience running in the red, white and blue. She ran for Team USA at the Bypa Great Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland, last year, finishing 10th overall. That finish was good enough to place as the second-best American and helped the U.S. senior women finish in second place as a team.
“I was fortunate enough to make two U.S. teams last year in cross country, but I haven’t made another one since then,” she said. “So it’s been a little over a year since I’ve been able to run on a U.S. team, and I couldn’t be more excited.”
In the meantime, between training and when the schedule allows, Thweatt has found a home helping coach distance runners for the Monarch High School track and field team.
“I try and do it as much as I can because the kids are awesome. They’re so supportive of what I’m doing,” she said.
Thweatt recently qualified with the A standard for the USA Championships in both the 5,000 and 10,000-meter races and still is deciding in which of the two events she’ll compete. The event takes place June 19-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.
But for now, all focus is geared toward the Bolder Boulder.
“It was a fantastic opportunity that came my way, and we weren’t expecting it,” Thweatt said.