"This year we kept the same numbers and sold out much faster," said race director John Jett. "The Internet registrations were through the roof, we did nearly 1,000 the first day." 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 feet as it crests the summit of Imogene Pass.
The race has a return runner rate of over 50 percent and has many athletes who have made the trip in excess of 10 times. This will be Baked in Telluride Jerry Greene's 27th consecutive run. Running clubs from Durango and Flagstaff have their entire running season schedule built around training for this event. For many it has become an annual pilgrimage to experience the late summer beauty of San Juan Mountains.
While the scenery of the course cannot be matched, the harsh conditions have taken their toll many years. Strong winds, rain, lightning and snow have struck the race and stretched the limits of both race personnel and runners. Hypothermia of several runners during a very cold race has prompted the requirement of all runners to carry adequate clothing. A hat, jacket and gloves are required for all runners to help alleviate this threat. Modern wicking/waterproof type materials are strongly recommended. After 32 years, the race remains mostly unchanged from its humble beginnings.
This year's race is Saturday, Sept. 9, and the race will depart Ouray at 7:30 a.m. Runners will complete the trip when they reach the finish line in Telluride at the intersection of North Oak and Columbia Streets. The finish line will be open until 2:30 p.m. and there will be an awards presentation in Elks Park at 1:30 p.m. Locals who have not yet registered are still eligible to enter the race. To obtain an entry you must be a resident of Telluride, Ridgway, Ouray, Silverton or Rico. Please check the IPR website at www.imogenerun.com or call Jett at 728-0251 for more information or to volunteer.