Soleil Gaylord

Telluride High School
Telluride, CO

This Runner Sees A Challenge, Then Finds a Way to Rise Above It

Being 6’1” with a 12.5 shoe size might be an advantage for a basketball player. But for a distance and mountain runner, it’s a different challenge. After growing four inches in one year, resulting in stretched tendons and injury-prone hips, Soleil Gaylord feared her running days, which started at age five, were over. Instead of throwing in the towel, she simply worked harder. Inspired by the 5’10’’ World Champion runner Emma Coburn, Soleil made “Tall Is Strong” her mantra and started an intense strength training regimen. It paid dividends: In addition to winning five state track and field titles and two state titles with her cross-country team, Soleil has competed in the World Mountain Running Championships three times. She is a World Champion snowshoe runner and a Colorado Sportswoman of the year.

Soleil not only rises to the occasion in sports; she has surmounted challenges in other areas of her life. In elementary school, she was diagnosed with selective mutism, a disorder that makes it hard to speak in social settings. But instead of letting the condition hold her back, she used it as a baseline for improvement. She volunteered to be a debate team closer in 8th grade. Today she is Student Body President, an Ambassador for American Trail Running, a peer educator, and producer and host of her own radio show.

When it comes to the environment, Soleil cares. So much she presents to her town government two times a year about a native species garden that she designed and maintains on 500 acres of protected land. She also founded a program to save and rebuild Telluride’s Monarch butterfly population, and works in her school’s greenhouse to promote healthy eating and supply low-income families with fresh produce. In everything she does, Soleil passionately believes in putting in the hard work. As her long list of accomplishments shows, the rewards are well worth the effort.




Cross Country

  • Captain
  • Varsity Letter Winner
  • All-Conference
  • All-District
  • All-State
  • School Record Holder
  • Track & Field

    • Captain
    • Varsity Letter Winner
    • All-Conference
    • All-District
    • All-State
    • 2 School Records Holder
    • 4 District Records Holder

    Snowshoe Racing

    • U.S. Snowshoe Running Team (2x National Champion, 2017 World Champion)
    • Sportswoman of Colorado Award Winner

    Mountain running

    • U.S. Mountain Running Team Member
    • Team Silver Medal at 2017 World Championships


Academic Honors & Awards

  • 2017 Congressional Award, Bronze Medal
  • William Lloyd Garrison Outstanding AP U.S History Student
  • CHSAA Top Academic Cross Country Team Les Schwab Award
  • Colorado College Academic Scholars Program
  • AP Scholar Award with Distinction
  • Honor Roll
  • Spanish Honor Society



School & Community Involvement

  • Student Body President
  • Voices of the Valley Floor and Fauna Radio Club (Producer/Director)
  • Brownies to Broccoli Peer Healthy Lifestyle Education Program (Founding Member)
  • Valley Floor Native Revegetation Project (Founder)
  • Southern Plains Land Trust (Junior Board Member)
  • Student Non-Profit Art Project (Founder/President)
  • Athletic Mentor for Running and Skiing
  • Hope Club





“I’ve lived by my dad’s simple formula: effort=results.”

~ Soleil Gaylord ~