TELLURIDE - On Saturday, Sept. 7, Telluride’s Mike Zuendel will participate in the Imogene Pass Run in honor of his mother and father, both of whom died of Alzheimer’s disease.
The 17.1 mile mountain trail race starts in Ouray, at an elevation of 7810 feet, goes straight up for 10 miles to the Imogene Pass summit at 13,114 feet for a gain of 5,304 vertical feet. The course then descends 4,364 feet and 7.1 miles with the finish line in Telluride. The course is on gravel roads, four-wheel drive high-clearance jeep trails, single-track trails, and over rocks and boulders. The surface is rough with rocks, sand, and scree (mountain gravel that is unpredictable underfoot), and is also often muddy.
“This race will definitely be the hardest athletic endeavor I have attempted,” said Zuendel. “Weather conditions I can expect are cold, snow, sleet, hail, wind, whiteouts, and God forbid, a little sun! I have been training since May in all of these conditions. I will be ready.
“You're right, this is just a little crazy! I blame it on living in a low-oxygen, high-altitude environment for the last six years. I have two goals, one is to finish in under five hours (actually just finishing would be OK, too), and the other much more important goal is to raise $10,000 to help in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease,” said Zuendel.
“I’m going the distance up and over the Imogene Pass to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association ALZ Stars, a program to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Association in Colorado.”
Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's, a number that is expected to grow to possibly 16 million by 2050. Members of ALZ Stars support the work of the Association ALZ by raising funds critical to the mission of the organization while pursuing their own personally challenging athletic goals. For more information about becoming an ALZ Star, go to alz.org/co
To make a donate and help Zuendel reach his goal of $10,000, visit