TELLURIDE – The 41st Annual Imogene Pass Run is set to run, with a sellout crowd of over 1,500 registered participants, on Saturday, Sept. 6. The race’s long history and quality of both the course and race organization has made it a benchmark for other high-altitude trail runs. With a strong showing of runners from the Four Corners states (Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico) the race is also attended by runners from 36 US states as well as 5 international runners representing NOR ESP and AUT. “This year we sold out in only 58 minutes”, said Race Director John Jett. “our online registration paces faster every year.”
The race, held each year on the Saturday after Labor Day, started in 1974 when Camp Bird Mine worker and Ouray resident Rick Trujillo and friends raced from Ouray to Telluride over the Imogene Pass jeep road. From then the race has grown to a sellout crowd of over 1,500. All eagerly awaiting the challenge of the 17.1-mile course that climbs to a height of 13,114 as it crests the summit of Imogene Pass.
The race has a return runner rate of over 50 percent, with many athletes who have made the trip in excess of 10 times. For many it has become an annual pilgrimage to the San Juan Mountains. This year has 126 local entries from Telluride, Ouray, Ridgway and Silverton, 130 from the Durango area, 135 from Boulder, 192 from Denver and suburbs and 215 from Flagstaff.
While the scenic beauty of the course cannot be matched, the harsh conditions take their toll. Strong winds, rain, lightning and snow have struck the late- summer race and stretched the limits of both race personal and runners. Hypothermia of several runners during a very cold race has prompted the requirement of all runners to carry adequate clothing.
The race remains mostly unchanged from its humble beginnings however since 2008 we have had a course that is closed to vehicular traffic. Recent years OHV traffic increases prompted the Imogene Pass Run Board of Directors to get permission from the San Miguel and Ouray County commissioners to close the road over the pass on race day (from 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on the Telluride side, 7 a.m.-12 p.m. from Ouray).
The race departs Ouray at 7:30 a.m.; runners complete the trip upon reaching the finish line in Telluride at the intersection of North Oak St. and Columbia Ave. The finish line stays open until 2:30 p.m., with an awards presentation in Elks Park at 1:30 p.m. An army of volunteers supports the 1200-plus runners. With six aid stations along the course, the Start, Finish and registration crews, over 200 volunteers are needed! Please check the IPR website at www.imogenerun.com or call John Jett at 728-0251 for information.
The Imogene Pass Run thanks Alpine Bank for its continued support of the race. Their sponsorship helps the IPR generously donate to High School running programs of Telluride and Ouray as well as many other local organizations that provide support for the race. Support organizations include Search and Rescue of San Miguel and Ouray County, Montrose Amatuer Radio Club, Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club, Sheridan Opera House, Baked in Telluride, Telluride Parks and Recreation and the Twin Peaks Motel in Ouray.