"The weather was fantastic, we started on time and had record numbers finish the race, and all of the aid stations did an amazing job," said IPR race director John Jett. "It really turned out to be a great day."
Crossing the Oak Street finish line first on Saturday morning was first-time winner Rickey Gates of Boulder, with a time of 2:21:30. Bernie Boettcher of Silt, Colo., who won the race in 2003 and 2004, was expected to be a contender for this year's race, but did not end up running on Saturday.
On the women's side, two previous IPR winners, Najeeby Quinn (who was the top female finisher in 2001) of Anchorage Alaska, and Lisa Goldsmith (last year's female winner) of Nederland, fought long and hard against each other for this year's win. Quinn made it to the tape first with a time of 2:46:08, although Goldsmith wasn't far behind with a time of 2:46:37.
Turn to page 10 for complete podium results.
As any seasoned IPR runner can attest, Saturday's weather was indeed a blessing for this high altitude mountain race, often fraught with rain, sleet and even snow. In fact pre-race preparations on Friday atop Imogene Pass, elevation 13,120 feet, were accompanied by wind, rain and lightning.
"It was super nasty overall up there on Friday," Jett said. "Considering Friday's weather, everyone was treated to an especially pleasant race day."
Proceeds from Saturday's race, which boasted a record number of finishers (Jett estimated around 1,200 crossed the finish line), will go to a number of local charities, including the track clubs from Telluride and Ouray High Schools, the Ouray and San Miguel County Search and Rescue teams, and the Montrose Amateur Radio Club.
Jett extended his gratitude to the regional Forest Service office for granting a permit for the race; he also offered thanks to the 200-plus volunteers, without whom the event could not take place. The Summit aid station once again took the "Aid Station of the Year" award for the fourth year in a row.