Melissa Kaufmann, the assistant cross country running coach at Bayfield High School, set a goal to compete and finish the Imogene Pass Run on Saturday, joining a bevy of Bayfield runners who completed the 17.1-mile race. Two of the other runners are mothers of middle school cross country athletes.
"I knew I had to train smart in order to meet the cut-off times and finish the race," said Kaufmann. Once officially registered on June 1, she had three months to train for the run.
Training included running with the cross country team, hiking and running in the high country, and two runs up Kendall Mountain in Silverton.
The week of the race, she discovered that Jessica Wood, the mother of Bayfield Middle School cross country student, Kaden Wood, was running the IPR for a second time and was a huge encouragement.
Kaufmann finished successfully with a time of 5:38. Jessica Wood finished in 4:59:17, crossing the line with Bayfield resident Meeca Bailey.
Other Bayfield runners who completed the IPR were Marisa Asplund, with an impressive finish of 3:17:54; Cory Kerns in 3:29:50; Morgan Dorsey in 3:52:17; William Shoesmith in 3:57:25; and Emily Ebright, 4:26:06.
Jaimie Hoffman completed the run in 4:43:25; followed by Rebecca Flinders in 4:50:10. She is the mother of Sage and Sawyer, who also run on the BMS cross country team. Jeff Wursten completed the course in 5:11:28.
The run takes place between Ouray at 7,810 feet and Telluride, with an altitude of 8,750 feet, by way of Imogene Pass, which reaches 13,114 feet. In the men's competition, Dakota Jones from Telluride won with a time of 2:13:35 and Maggie Yount of Durango took the women's division in 2:53:23.
Kaufmann and head BHS Cross Country Coach, Josh Walton, and BMS Coach Daniel Wilson invite area runners to run an open race this Saturday, Sept. 15 on a new 5K course in Bayfield behind Pine Valley Church on CR 501.
"The course will be a great recovery run for our Imogene participants, starting with a 200-meter gradual hill and with a couple of other steep and gradual hills," Kaufmann said. "This will be an excellent early-season challenge for our participating high school and middle school student athletes and all other community members who like to run."
The Wolverine team currently has 19 high school and 16 middle school members and will be joined by area teams from Durango, Ignacio, Pagosa Springs, Mancos, Dolores and Grand Junction. The first team race begins at 9 a.m. for middle school runners, followed by the high school athletes at 10 a.m. There will be an open community race at 11:30 a.m. The cost is $25 and will include a T-shirt. Proceeds will support the Bayfield cross country teams.