TELLURIDE, Colo. – (June 20, 2020) – The 4th of July in Telluride has historically been a day of full of community traditions; it just is not Independence Day without the parade, the Firemen’s Picnic, and the spectacular fireworks. While these events have been cancelled due to coronavirus, one tradition, the Telluride Foundation’s Rundola, will go on, although modified to ensure a safe, socially distanced event. The Foundation has been working with the San Miguel County Public Health Director Grace Fanklin and race event professionals to run a safe, athletic event for participants and the community. As a result, the Rundola, Telluride’s Fourth of July Footrace, will set a standard by using county guidelines and will move forward with new safety protocols in place.
The Rundola is an uphill footrace for pre-registered participants who want to celebrate the holiday with a physical challenge. Starting from the base of the gondola in Telluride and finishing at the top of the ridge that parallels the gondola, runners gain 1,810 feet of elevation any way they can — run, hike or crawl. This year, as part of new safety requirements, start times for participants will be pre-assigned and staggered to insure that only ten participants will start at once. Pre-determined start times will be emailed to participants the night before and will run from 8am and running through 11am. Fencing, signage, and staff will be in place at the start and finish areas to maximize physical distancing.
Registration is open at runreg.com for a limited number, up to 300 participants. Online registration closes on July 2nd at 4pm MT or when the maximum capacity is reached. Also, new this year, there is a virtual category on the registration site for those that want to be part of the tradition but cannot be in Telluride. Anyone, anywhere, and at any time can run a 5K and post their pictures on Instagram, #virtualrundola2020. Runners can also post their final time on RunReg.com if they so choose.
““I am confident that the Rundola is set up to be successful and safe for participants and volunteers. The plan to minimize gatherings and staggered starts is key, allowing people to stay distant from one another” said Franklin. “It is a great way for people to get outdoors, exercise and be safe.” Some of the new protocols will be: pre-assigned start times in groups of no more than ten, every five minutes to allow spacing; a participant cap of 300; no children’s category; no award ceremony or after-race breakfast to avoid gatherings; and all volunteers and staff will wear masks. Regulations may be modified, or the race could be canceled if the county’s health status changes. If so, the Telluride Foundation will refund registration fees.
In determining how to operate the race as safely as possible, Foundation staff worked with CJ Timing owners and Rundola timers John and Cath Jett. The Jetts have been working with USA Cycling, which recently developed guidelines and a risk assessment tool for starting races again. “USA Cyling’s event guidelines are comprehensive and transferable to almost any type of sporting event”, said Cath Jett. “They are constantly updating these tools as the state and local requirements change, and we will do the same for the Rundola to ensure athletes can be safe.”
“The Telluride Foundation’s goal is to have a safe, outdoor, athletic event that reflects the spirit of the community,” said Paul Major, President & CEO of the Foundation. “The Rundola has a strong following, and we hope that past runners and visitors who cannot join us in person will participate virtually from anywhere, on any day, being part of this July 4th tradition separately, together.”
Runners start at the base of the gondola on the Town of Telluride side and finish at the top of the ridge, between the top of Lift 7 and the Nature Center. Runners can choose their own route up the mountain – they can take the 4,600 foot Telluride Trail with an average grade of 13% or bushwhack straight up the mountain for an even steeper climb. The course record is held by Daniel Kraft in 2012 with a time of 21:43.36. The women’s record is held by Nora Coennen in 2013 with a time of 27:29.81.
The Rundola is organized and hosted by the Telluride Foundation. Telluride Properties and Alpine Bank are sponsors of the 2020 event. The US Forest Service, Telluride Ski & Golf, and Mountain Village are supporters. Medals will be mailed to the top three finishers in each category. Fastest overall man and woman, as well as each first-place category winner will receive gift certificates from local establishments. Virtual participants who post their photos with the hastag #virtualrundola2020, wearing their favorite Rundola shirt, hat, or bib from previous years, will be entered to win a 2020 Rundola shirt and hat, mailed to three participants with the best photos.
The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride and regional community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. 2020 marks 20 years of making more possible through the Telluride Foundation’s commitment to enrich the quality of life of the residents, visitors, and workforce of the Telluride region. Currently, we are meeting this mission through our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have created the regional COVID-19 Response Fund, which supports community-based organizations and vulnerable individuals and families in the Telluride region, including San Miguel, Ouray, west Montrose counties and Rico. The Fund is targeted to assist in three urgent areas: 1) the Good Neighbor Fund, family/individual emergency assistance for food, rent, medical (including behavioral health treatments); 2) emergency grants to health and human service nonprofits, including regional medical clinics, food banks, and schools to provide meals for students; 3) expanded internet access and infrastructure necessary for students and teachers to participate in remote learning. Please click HERE to read more or donate now.