39th Annual Imogene Pass Run from Ouray to Telluride
September 8, 2012, Athletes from Across the Country Continue a Years Old Tradition in Southwest Colorado.
In 1974, Rick Trujillo, a local working at the Campbird Mine, decided to finish his day off with a quick run over to Telluride. He was training for the Pikes Peak Marathon, and thought this would be a great run. The competitive nature of Southwest Colorado miners took over, and less than a month later, six men participated in the first annual "Imogene Pass Mountain Marathon".
Imogene Pass Run is a 17.1 mile course beginning in the center of Ouray, and travelling over a mountain pass which most people these days will only travel by four-wheel drive vehicles about three or four months out of the year. It is impossible to not admire the hardiness of the athletes who decide to run each year, averaging a time of two to three hours to run a trail that peaks at an elevation of 13,120 ft, an altitude most people find difficult to breath at just walking! Of course, this is also one of the most scenic races in Colorado. As racers traverse the steep terrain, they cannot help but take in the absolute majesty of the San Juan Mountain Range, climbing above timberline, and confronted with the sense of being on top of the world, surrounded by blue skies and mountain peaks as far as the eye can see.
September is an interesting time in the high country of the Rocky Mountains. You never know exactly what the weather is going to do - and often it will change numerous times as you travel higher. Regardless of whether it is a beautiful sunny day down here at 7800 ft, runners may experience every type of change as they climb the rugged peaks, and descend down into Telluride, a mere 8820 ft. It is not unheard of for the race to be cancelled due to snow (granted this doesn't happen often), and people have been treated for hypothermia (not since 2002 though). Because of the safety issues when runners are not properly prepared, the rules have been changed a bit since that first little race to accommodate the approximate 1500 runners who now compete in this demanding run.
The race of course is not only made up of runners. Every year, volunteers organize to provide food and water to competitors as they traverse the mountains. Six aid stations are scattered along the trail, and generous people bundle up against whatever the weather may offer, waiting to ensure a safe and exciting run.
The Box Canyon Lodge is an active supporter for the Imogene Pass Run, and is a perfect location for athletes participating in the race. Centrally located to some of the best trails in town, and convenient to the starting point of the Imogen Run, the Box Canyon also boasts four natural mineral hot spring tubs, a great place for runners to recover after the race.
Buses transport runners back to Ouray from Telluride for free until 2:30 on the day of the race, and registration began on June 1, 2012. For more information on how you can participate, go to: http://www.imogenerun.com/volunteer.htm
See you there!