Something is always going on around here. There are more events taking place than you can shake a stick at. Being a “real” local has its advantages. The word hits the street and you have time to get prepared so as to not miss out on the AIDS Fashion Show, Chocolate Lover’s Fling, or the Lip Sync contest. Someone somewhere always has tickets. However, if you are not a local, tickets can be tough to come by and you end up as a no-show at the latest and greatest event in town. Luckily for me, since I will never fit in as a human local, events occur which demand nothing more than being in town at the right time. The Imogene Pass Run is one of these. It just took place on Saturday; no tickets necessary.
My tail nearly fell off when I heard how many people had applied to enter the Imogene Run. What would you guess? Three hundred? After all we are talking about a run that is 17 miles long and goes up and over the second highest pass in Colorado. If I get any of my facts wrong, please forgive me…..I am only a dog and numbers and facts are not my forte. This run takes place in all kinds of weather. It can be freezing rain at the top, snow, or what everyone prays for, pleasant weather. This year weather was good although a few runners did say it was cold up top since they were pretty sweaty at that point. Only once have the organisers had to change plans….in 2007 the snow was deep at the top of the pass and for five miles the trail was nearly impassable. That year the race went from Ouray to the top of Imogene Pass (I guess where the snow started) and then runners returned to Ouray. Approximately 30 contestants signed waivers releasing the Imogene Run organisers from all responsibility for their welfare and then muddled on through the snow to actually finish in Telluride. They were heard to say it had been pretty brutal up top. ( my photo is from 2003 when we took three girls up to Imogene Pass ….the two girls on the right were born in India ( the other is a Welsh Norwegian, imagine that!) and it was their first experience with snow – it was our first experience with snow in July!)
OK. I know you still want to know how many people applied to run in the event this year – 1,606. Thirteen hundred actually showed up on race day and most people made it down into Telluride. Timmy Parr and Keri Nelson were this year’s ultimate winners and Keri broke a record for women that had been held for 25 years.
A highlight this year was having Jim Looney again complete the race. Last year just two weeks prior to the big event he was in a horrific bike accident that broke a lot of important and big bones in his body and could not compete. He is the most popular person at the post office and let’s face it…..they all rate really high on the niceness scale! In fact if you need to go to a post office I would suggest you…..oh forget it, I can’t just let my thoughts wander like that. Everyone was happy that Jim finally got well and could return to work and then slowly but surely built himself up physically, and I’m sure mentally, so he could compete in this year’s run. I saw my owner give a big smile and snap a picture for me when Jim came through the finish line. Proud of you Jim! You are a reminder that when faced with adversity we need to rise up and meet it head on and give it our all….maybe we won’t always enter the Imogene but we have a better chance of getting on with life. (He’s number 57 if you don’t recognise him.)
Volunteers….they worked hard. For their efforts they received breakfast doughnuts (always yum for Canadians such as ourselves!), a free t-shirt to prove their worth, and a free lunch. It never gets better than a free lunch in my opinion – no dog biscuits but they didn’t realise I was going to be there so they are forgiven. Volunteers unloaded buses, set up tables with gatorade, provided snacks for the hungry runners, manned a soup table, and waitressed back and forth with water and gatorade as runners crossed the finish line, and recorded finishing times. One of the most appreciated jobs in my eyes was the job of removing the electronic tag around each runner’s ankle. Most runners were incapable of leaning over to remove this tag at the end of the 17 miles. They were extremely grateful to have a couple of volunteers lean over 1,300 times to do the deed. My good pal, Yael,visiting town from Ranana,Israel did this for more than four hours and let me say she slept well that night!
Runners in general are an extremely polite group. I can’t count how many people of the 1,300 said thank you for being here, thank you for the drink, could I please have…….it was impressive. If I had just dragged my sorry body over that pass I would have snapped and snarled until someone brought me what I damn well deserved. OK….one woman was a bit snarky but only one and that is pretty amazing; I forgive her, she was exhausted. I’m sure she’s lovely normally.
I saw people who could hardly stand as they came through the finish line. Some runners could hardly control their shaking hands to pick up a glass of water. I saw people spit (a lot!!!) …why? I saw people lie on the ground just grateful to be finished; in fact a lot of entrants mumbled, “Thank God, I’m done, it is over.” One finisher let loose with uncontrollable tears once she had had a drink and a snack……running something like this is emotionally draining. They should feel pride. If not then, when? In fact even people who didn’t manage to complete the race need to be extremely proud of themselves for undertaking the run in the first place. Anyone who signed up for this torture has a different mind set than most of us. I am proud of all of them.
Later that night one of the competitors, and 2nd place finisher in her age group visited our place. (let’s call her Lisa.) She came by for dinner and a large group of women saluted her, congratulated her, and toasted her on the completion of her 23rd Imogene Pass Run (again my facility with numbers is low so I hope I have this correct). We checked her feet for blisters…and not a one. What a woman! Here’s to your 24th run Lisa. We love you.
Two incredible beauties waited patiently near the finish line. Never had time to find out if they were waiting for a competitor. I bet they were. Poodles were never my cup of tea but these two lovelies have changed my mind….regal is what comes to mind. Hope they bring their owners back for a visit some day. Having friends from out of town is fun for me too…you humans think you have the handle on everything, but you don’t.
Remember how I told you about our crazy weather….just when the run was pretty much finished and tidying up was taking place, Telluride came through for us. We had a hail storm! Gotta love a place that can keep you on your toes. See ya later.