The Mountain Calleth – A Duel in the Sun (From the May/June issue of New England Runner)
Beginning in 1974 a trip to the White Mountains for the Mt.
Washington Road Race was how I began my “summer of Hodgie” a kick-off for a
summer of putting in the miles and running some low key and fun road races. The
goal was to establish a good base to carry me through the rest of the following
year of competitive racing.
I loved the “Whites” and travelled there with high school
friends sometimes playing hooky from school to spend a day hiking. In the
summer of my sophomore year in H.S. my brother drove myself and a friend to the
Twin River area where we camped out for week and hiked N. Twin Mt. several
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After HS and a semester at Johnson & Wales JC I joined
the work force at Raytheon Co. I was injured with a sore knee and when I began
to get my running going again it was in road races, testing my fitness.
I was established as a runner and a hiker in 1974 when I
became aware of the race up Washington. I knew that I had to do it. I talked
two of my HS & College running friends from Lowell into running the race as
well and I personally delivered our entries to Jock Semple at the old Boston
A friend drove us to the AMC Pinkham Notch Lodge where we
stayed the night before the race, and he returned the next day to pick us up.
Race day dawned cold gray with rain and hail. There was some discussion about
cancelling the race but the majority of runners agreed that we would run the
course with or without race officials.
experience finishing 14th. This would not be my last time running
the “rockpile”. I ran the next six years straight winning five straight from
1976-1980. In many of the following years the race conflicted with the National
Track & Field Championships where I was competing. Had the scheduling been
different I would have continued to run the mountain as a kick-off for summer.
the new race director incorporating some changes that included attracting more
intense competition. The race grew in popularity as well with a field capped at
I was able to win again in 85 and in 1987 when I just missed
the course record by one second.
Though there was more depth of competition I was still winning the race
by a fairly wide margin and had always felt as if I was running mostly against
In 1988 after the Olympic Track & Field Trials in
Indianapolis I had decided that my highly competitive days were drawing to a
close after a decade of pursuing a dream of becoming an Olympian and winning
the Boston Marathon.
I had returned to the University of Lowell as a student and
coach of Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field. I also became involved
with the Greater Lowell Road Runners where Coach George Davis and I were hoping
to build some opportunities for young promising runners to pursue their dreams.
career at the University of Lowell. Dave and I began running together
occasionally and competed as teammates for Lowell. I felt like I had come full
circle, back to Lowell where I had first become a runner.
The Mt. Washington race became a goal for the team and the
1989 race a smack-down between Dave, the 1988 race winner and course record
holder against me the seven time winner. Though I was no longer running with
the same intensity and drive I still had lots of residual fitness and wiliness.
Dave was gaining confidence in his running and winning some top local races. We
were both ready.
We ran together the entire way pulling away from the pack
early and bothered early on by the media vehicles which impeded the race and
nearly clipped us. I let them know my feelings.
I wanted to make a move to bust the race open. It felt
strange running side by side with someone on the mountain, but I did not have
the confidence in my recent training. I think Dave might have gone as the pace
was not very fast, but he was focused on me.
We ran on through the fog pacing each other and watching for
vehicles. When we were just below the finish Dave asked me if we should tie. I
appreciated the gesture but told him I thought we should make a race of it. I
did not mind tying but it does kind of put a damper on what the crowd perceives
to be a gallant effort by us both.
Dave got the jump on me and that was that, I lost by one
second. I was happy for Dave. No one loves the Mt. run like he does.
though it no longer is a prelude to hopefully bigger and better things I still
love visiting the mountains and being a part of the race.
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