On September 29, 1974, six runners participated in the first “Imogene Pass Mountain Marathon”. Rick Trujillo of Ouray, five-time winner of Pikes Peak Marathon, was the first to cross the finish line in Telluride in 2:21:18. The Walking Division was implemented from 1989 to 2000 with mixed success. Due to the huge popularity of this event and the challenge with the weather to our volunteers, it was agreed to maintain this event as a run, still open to anyone who can meet the qualifying cut-off times.
Through the years, the participants in the Imogene Pass Run have encountered a variety of weather conditions. This spectrum of weather during the race is its lure and mystique. In good weather years the challenge of the traverse is rewarded by unsurpassed vistas and in the bad weather years, the wind, fog, rain, and/or snow along the course make a successful arrival in Telluride a virtual rite of passage into the realm of true mountain running.
Of the 44 Imogene Pass Runs, half have been conducted during good weather conditions (sunny to partly cloudy skies, warm temperatures in the valleys with cool temperatures on the pass, calm winds and a dry course). Three events took place in good weather years but 1-4” of fresh snow above timberline and cold temperatures over the pass existed. Other years were conducted during moderate weather conditions (partly cloudy, cool to freezing temperatures, gusty winds above timberline, some rain and occasional fog). In 1992 50+ mph winds blew some runners off their feet at the summit. Four runs have been conducted during bad weather conditions (cloudy, cool to cub-freezing temperatures, gusty winds, rain at any section of the course, light to heavy snow falling above timberline with occasionally fog and whiteout conditions). These runs began in moderate weather with indication of improving conditions, instead the weather deteriorated with fast moving snowstorms typical of early Fall. Two to eight inches of snow fell at the summit during the running of these races, taxing rescue support as well as the life systems of many runners; several improperly dressed runners were treated for hypothermia on either side of the pass. In 2006 the race was contested entirely on the Ouray side finishing in Ouray Town Park. This was due to impassable conditions at the Imogene Summit.
For the security of the race participants THREAT OF POOR WEATHER will recommend all participants to have adequate jacket, gloves, and hat in order to proceed past the Upper Camp Bird check point.