On your Mark, Get Set, Go! 42nd Annual Imogene Pass Run
September 12, 2015 has been on the radar of runners and hikers for many, many months. That day marks the 42nd Annual Imogene Pass Run, a 17. 1 mile running race from Ouray to Telluride over Imogene Pass. With an elevation gain of over 5,000 feet and a top altitude of 13,120 feet, this run is not for the faint of heart.
The event has increased dramatically in size since its humble beginnings back in 1974. Where once it was an adventure run for a few pioneers, today the race is immensely popular and the number of registrants is restricted due to safety and logistical reasons. Nowadays, it is quite common for the race to sell out in less than an hour. The first lucky 1500 people get in. Those that don’t will most likely add it to their bucket list for the following year.
I did not train for the race this year and when tomorrow arrives, I will be filled with regret, especially because the weather forecast is calling for perfect running weather-not too hot, not too cold-sunny and 70 degrees.
That’s okay because I have a plan B. I will support my friends and all the other amazing people that take on this challenging race. It is inspiring to hike up Tomboy Road and cheer on the multitude of runners navigating the steep and rocky terrain on the 7 mile descent (after the monumental effort of climbing straight up hill for 10 miles to the top of Imogene Pass.) I know their lungs are spent and their legs tired and shaky. I hope that my cheers of “Great job! You look so strong! Almost There! Keep it Up!” will give them the boost they need to keep going until they cross the finish line.
Some runners will sprint to the finish; many will be exhausted just barely putting one front in the other; a handful will be scraped up form a misstep along the way but they all have one thing in common- a grin from ear to ear as they cross the finish line at Oak Street, as crowds cheer them with a warm welcome to Telluride.