Four wins in four starts in his return from injury has Durango trail runner Dakota Jones full of smiles.
Jones won the 45th running of the Imogene Pass run, a 17.1-mile race from Ouray to Telluride that features 5,000 feet of climbing on the way to the Imogene Pass summit.
The 27-year-old won in 2 hours, 13 minutes, 36 seconds. Littleton’s Daniel Nally, 33, was second in 2:22:03.
Durango’s Maggie Yount was the first women’s finisher. The 34-year-old was 27th overall in 2:53:23.
Jones returned from more than a year away because of hamstring and Achilles injuries with a win at the Kendall Mountain Run in Silverton in July. He then won the La Luz Trail run in Albuquerque before he conquered the Pikes Peak Marathon with a win and a new record downhill time, even after he rode bis bicycle more than 250 miles from Silverton to Manitou Springs for the race.
Saturday’s Imogene Pass run was another strong showing for Jones.
“Imogene is a super classic race and a local one, too,” Jones said. “I’ve always wanted to run it, and this felt like the perfect year since I’ve been focusing on shorter races.
“I definitely felt tired on the climb above treeline, and I want to blame it on lingering fatigue from Pikes Peak, but in reality I was probably less acclimatized. I felt tired, but I ran a respectable time to the top, 1:38 and change, but three minutes slower than last year’s first to the top.”
Jones said he was surprised to run at the front for pretty much the whole race.
“I expected all the Flagstaff road runners to go out hard, but everyone else ran smart,” he said. “I probably went too hard at the beginning.
“The weather was perfect, the volunteers amazing, and I feel so grateful to be able to run well with so many good people. It feels good to race in my home mountains.”