Laura Thwaite didn’t sign up for Boulder Boulder to fight for the win.
Once the race started, however, his competitiveness waned.
The 33-year-old Thwaite of Superior was the winner of the women’s nationals race at the 42nd edition of Boulder Boulder on Monday. She unofficially crossed the finish line at Folsom Field in 34:59.40 seconds. Neely Gracie of Lafayette finished second in 35:04.28.
“I’m (surprised), actually,” Thwaite said. “I had some women hot on my heels and it’s Colorado, so you can’t come to the race and hope you don’t have to go to war. I’m really surprised that I stopped winning. Succeeded in getting it.”
Born and raised in Durango, Thwaite 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 the 800 meters to 10,000 meters.
Now running professionally for Saucony, Thweatt is coming off an injury and said she left on Monday after only three weeks of training.
“I just wanted to test fitness and just try a good, hard one,” she said. “So I came out and it was a blast. It was tough but it was great. It was a more fun way to workout.”
Although she had a workout mindset, Thwaite said the competitive juices started flowing “immediately” once the race started.
“I didn’t want to go too fast, but I got to the second mile and I was like, ‘Ah, I’m in the race. I’m just going to go for it and hope I can stop,'” she said. Said “So, yeah, I got competitive and just worked hard. You can’t get rid of it.”
During the race, Thwaite said that he targeted the male runners ahead of him.
“Every man, I was just trying to hang on and love chasing people,” she said. “So, it was a fun way to get a hard try because you’re just running around and people are cheering you on. It’s a really fun atmosphere.”
That’s not how she felt about Boulder Boulder her last time running the event. In 2013, she participated in the women’s international pro race. His USA team was in third place and Thwait finished 12th with a 35:37.7.
“It was so brutal that I swore I would never do this race again, but here I am,” she said with a laugh.
Monday was a better experience for Thwait, who is keeping his eye on the marathon goal in the fall.
“I’m still trying to figure out which is which, but it’s all headed for the bigger goal in the fall,” she said. “I’m a marathoner. It’s like a sprint for me.”
It was also a successful sprint, as it exceeded his expectations.
“I’m in a better place than I thought it would be,” she said. “After recovering from an injury, it’s good to be back here and feel like myself again. That’s what I wanted today. To do this after very little training, I feel really good about it.
Like Thwaite, Gracie is a former competitor in international pro races. She participated in that competition in 2015 and 2017. A three-time qualifier for the Olympic Trials, Gracie had her second son last year and continues to coach in addition to running.