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Women’s CR Holder Returning to Mt. Washington

51st
Mount Washington Road Race


 Mt.
Washington Auto Road

June 18,
2011 ‰ÛÒ 9 a.m.


 


·        
Amare
racing well,
returning to defend title; Siemers injured, unlikely to
compete


 


May 27, 2011 —
Pinkham Notch, N.H.


 


For next
month‰Ûªs Mount Washington Road Race in the White
Mountains of New Hampshire, the news
up front is mixed.  Shewarge Amare, the
24-year-old Ethiopian
woman who last year smashed the course record by running up the
7.6-mile Mt.
Washington Auto Road in one hour 8 minutes 20.4 seconds, is
racing well and
will return to the Auto Road this year with her eyes on the
possibility of an
even faster time.  On the other hand, the
men‰Ûªs 2010 champion, Chris Siemers of Arvada, Colorado, has
sustained an injury
and is unlikely to be able to return to defend his title.


 


Amare, who
lives and trains in New
York City as part of the West Side Road Runners, made her Mt.
Washington debut
in 2010 in impressive fashion, taking nearly two minutes off the
women‰Ûªs course
record that had stood since 1998, when Sweden‰Ûªs Magdalena
Thorsell clocked a
time of 1:10:08.2.  Her accomplishment
attracted extra attention because a last-minute mixup forced her
to run in a
pair of borrowed shoes. 


 


Later that
summer, Amare won the
Bogota International Half-marathon in Colombia, beating her
better-known
countrywoman Dire Tune in a time of 1:13:52. 
Training well this spring, Amare won the Cooper River
Bridge 10K in
Charleston, S.C., in a time of 33:06, edging Kenyan Janet
Chebron by two
seconds. She also recorded a personal best in the half-marathon,
placing fourth
in the New York Half-Marathon on March 24 in time of 1:09:25,
just behind
American Olympian Kara Goucher and two top Kenyans, winner
Caroline Rotich and
Edna Kiplagat.  (A runner‰Ûªs half-marathon
time is typically predictive of his or her time at Mt.
Washington.)  Amare is one of the favorites this
coming
weekend in the Ottawa 10K in Canada. 


 


Siemers, 30,
similarly won the Mt.
Washington Road Race last year in his first attempt up the
relentlessly steep
Auto Road, which rises at an average grade of 12 percent to the
6288-foot
summit of the highest peak in the Northeast. 
In a field loaded with the best uphill runners in
America, Siemers
battled two-time Mt. Washington champion Eric Blake of New
Britain, Connecticut,
until the final half-mile, when he pulled ahead to win in one
hour and 22
seconds.  Unfortunately, last winter Siemers
developed a persistent hip injury; although for a time he was
optimistic about
this year‰Ûªs race, doctors have confirmed that the injury will
require surgery
to enable him to compete again.  He hopes
to return to Mt. Washington next year.


 


Blake, who won
the race in 2006 and
2008, will return this year, along with 2009 winner Rickey Gates
of Boulder,
Colo.; three-time Mt.Washington champion (2002, 2003, 2005)
Simon Gutierrez of
Alamosa, Colo.; Matt Byrne of Scranton, Penn. (6th in
2008, 4th
in 2009); Tommy Manning of Colorado Springs (7th in
2009, 6th
last year); and several other contenders.


Amare‰Ûªs nearest
competition is
likely to come from two-time winner (2008, 2009) Brandy Erholtz
of Bailey,
Colo., who was third last year; Kasie Enman of Huntington,
Vermont (2nd
in 2008); and
others including Camille Herron of
Lafayette, Indiana, who placed 6th here in 2008 and
then recently,
following a period of injury, has won four marathons in the past
six months ‰ÛÒ
Dallas, Birmingham (Alabama), Napa Valley and Fargo.  


 


Sponsored by Northeast
Delta Dental
, the Mt. Washington Road Race this year is
part of the summer-long celebration of the 150th
anniversary of the
opening of the Mt. Washington Auto Road. 
Completed in 1861 and originally called the Mt.
Washington Carriage
Road, the twisting, windswept road to the top of the
Presidential Range is the
oldest man-made tourist attraction in New England.  The
Mt. Washington Road Race was first held
three times in the 1930s, then again in 1961 on the Auto Road‰Ûªs
centennial, in
1962, and continuously since 1966.


 


The race
annually pits 1000 runners
against one of the most challenging obstacles in road-racing
anywhere in the
world.  In its 7.6 miles, the Mt. Washington
Auto Road
gains 4727 feet in altitude with no
interruption in the constantly uphill grind. 
The final 70 yards rises at an in-your face 22 percent
grade to the
finish line beside the old weather station, where a wind speed
of 231 mph. was
recorded in 1934.  (The average wind
speed at the summit is 35 mph.)  The race
has attracted Olympic athletes, Boston marathon champions, and
the best
mountain running specialists in the world, along with numerous
other runners
from across the United States and from 18 other countries. 


 


For a colorful
description of
running the race, see Todd Balf‰Ûªs article ‰ÛÏBecause It‰Ûªs Steep‰Û
in the June 2011
issue of Runner‰Ûªs World.


 


This year‰Ûªs Mt.
Washington Road Race
will start at 9 a.m. ‰ÛÒ an hour earlier than in previous years. 


 

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