Telluride Foundation: County Health Okays Rundola, 7/4! Covid-19 Fund Still Open!

Telluride Foundation: County Health Okays Rundola, 7/4! Covid-19 Fund Still Open!

To start Independence Day off with a BANG, register for the Telluride Foundation’s eighth annual Rundola footrace. The event takes place on July 4. As always. Well almost. Public Health Director Grace Franklin of San Miguel County okayed the Rundola – only under the condition of best practices for an outdoor event, including staggering start times. You can join in the fun virtually too. Scroll down for details. 

The Fourth of July in Telluride has historically been a day chockablock with small town community traditions. It will not feel like Independence Day in town without the parade, the Firemen’s Picnic, and our spectacular fireworks – all of which are cancelled due to the coronavirus. But 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 San Miguel County Public Health Director Grace Franklin 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 high standard, using county guidelines and moving 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 ensure that only 10 participants will start at once. Pre-determined start times will be emailed to participants the night before and will run from 8am through 11am. Fencing, signage, and staff will be in place at the start and finish areas to maximize physical distancing.

Registration is open now at 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 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 are:

• Pre-assigned start times in groups of no more than 10, every five minutes to allow spacing;

• Participant cap of 300;

• No children’s category;

• No award ceremony or after-race breakfast to avoid gatherings;

• 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, the Telluride 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.”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 the three participants with the best photos.

The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that provides year-round support for local organizations involved in arts, education, athletics, charitable causes, land conservation and other community-based efforts through technical assistance, education and grant making. As a grant-maker, The Foundation awards grants to qualified applicants that serve the people living and working in the Telluride area for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region.

For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit

Please Consider a donation to the Telluride Foundation’s local Covid-19 Response Fund:


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