Home >> Regional News >> Six-Time World Champion Competing at Mt. Washington

Six-Time World Champion Competing at Mt. Washington

Northeast
Delta Dental


Mount Washington
Road Race


June 16, 2012 ‰ÛÓ
9:00 a.m.


 


·        
Six-time
world champion Marco de Gasperi will
compete in this year’s race.


·        
U.S.
National Mountain Championship attracts deepest
men’s field ever.


·        
Dobson,
Erholtz and Enman again lead women.


 


Pinkham Notch,
N.H. ‰ÛÓ May 18, 2012


 


Italian
mountain-running star Marco de Gasperi will come to the
White Mountains of New Hampshire next month to make his first
appearance in the
Northeast Delta
Dental Mount Washington Road Race
.  A
six-time winner of the World Mountain Trophy, de Gasperi leads a
men’s field that includes most of the strongest American men in
the sport of mountain running, since this year’s run to the
summit of Mt. Washington is the selection race for the U.S.
national mountain running team that will compete in the 2012
World Mountain Championships in
September
in
Italy. 
 
The Northeast
Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race is a 7.6-mile grind up
the Mt. Washington Auto Road, which climbs 4650 feet to
the top of
 the highest peak
in the northeastern United States.  Now in its 52nd
year, the race will welcome a field of approximately 1200
runners to test themselves against the relentless grade of the
historic road. Besides the severity of the climb ‰ÛÓ an average
grade of 12 percent, with an extended stretch at 18 percent and
a startling 22 percent slope at the finish ‰ÛÓ the race also
challenges runners with the mountain’s unpredictable weather and
famously high winds.
 
 
For several years,
organizers of the race have dreamed of getting Marco de Gasperi
to run Mt. Washington. Having won the world championship
six times (1997,
1999, 2001, 2003, 2007, plus the juniors’ race in 1996) and
having finished in the top ten on five other occasions between
2002 and 2011, de Gasperi is generally recognized as either the
best mountain runner in the world or one of the best two ‰ÛÓ the
other being Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand, who holds the Mt.
Washington course record of 56 minutes 41 seconds. (Wyatt has
been injured and will not compete this year.) De Gasperi
recently confirmed that he can get enough time off from his
training and work responsibilities in Europe to run both Mt.
Washington and the Cranmore Hill Climb, which is held a week
later in nearby North Conway NH.
 
 
While DeGasperi’s
record elsewhere makes him the clear favorite here, the men’s
race will be a fierce contest among all the Americans, whether
they
 are trying to
stay with de Gasperi or only to beat their countrymen to the top
of the mountain and secure a place on the U.S. team. 
 
 
Leading this large
contingent is Mt. Washington’s defending champion Rickey
Gates
, of Woody Creek, Colorado. In 2009, Gates won here
in
59 minutes 58
seconds, becoming only the fifth man to break the one-hour
barrier on the Auto Road. Last year he won again, in one hour
one minute and 32 seconds.
Gates will have to contend with Tommy Manning of Colorado Springs, Colorado, who finished just ten seconds behind Gates last year after leading the race until the sixth mile.  
 
Another threat
comes from Max King of Bend, Oregon, the reigning world
mountain champion. In 2010, King finished fifth at Mt.
Washington,
 in his only
appearance here, just behind Gates and a step ahead of Manning.
Last September he beat deGasperi and the rest of the men at the
2011 World Championships in Tirana, Albania, becoming only the
second American world champion.  (The first was
Jay Johnson of Boulder, Colorado, in 1989.)
 
 
Others with a
chance at making this year’s U.S. team include Matt Byrne
of Scranton, Pennsylvania, who was third last year at Mt.
Washington;
 three-time former
winner Simon Gutierrez of Alamosa, Colorado; Joe
Gray
of Lakewood, Washington, who has earned a place on
the national team in both his previous Mt. Washington efforts
(2008 and 2010); Glenn Randall, of Mesa, Colorado, who
finished fourth here last year; and several who have never raced
here before but whose times in races elsewhere suggest that they
may be in the thick of the contest next month.
 
The latest entry
into the men’s field may be the biggest threat of all, at least
among the first-timers. He is Tim Chichester, of Mount
Morris, NY,
 who last month
was the second American finisher (and eleventh overall) in the
Boston Marathon. This will be Chichester’s first appearance at
Mt. Washington. 
 
 
The women’s field
this year is not so large as the men’s, largely because the
selection race for the U.S. women’s national team is later this
summer ‰ÛÓ
 the Loon Mountain
Race in Lincoln, NH, on July 8. Nevertheless, it may provide as
good a race as the men’s contest, since it will feature the
return of the top three finishers from last year ‰ÛÓ Kim
Dobson
of Denver, Colorado; Brandy Erholtz of
Evergreen, Colorado, and Kasie Enman of Huntington,
Vermont.
 
Last year Enman
won the women’s world championships in Albania, as she became
the first female American gold medalist in the sport and joined
with King
 to produce a
stunning double-gold victory for the U.S. team. Also returning
this year, after missing the 2011 race, is Laura Haefeli
of Del Norte, Colorado, who in 2005 led the American women’s
team to their first-ever medal (bronze) at the world
championships. 
 
 
The
women’s record
at Mt. Washington
was
set in 2010 by the young Ethiopian runner Shewarge Amare, a time
of one hour eight minutes 21seconds.
 Amare is not
expected to return this year.
 
 
The 2012 World
Mountain Championships will be held on September 2 in Ponte di
Legno, in the Italian Alps. Six men and four women will
 make up the U.S.
team. The U.S. junior team (runners under the age of 20) will
include four male and three female runners.
 
NORTHEAST DELTA DENTAL  
With its
headquarters in the Granite State’s capital and its eyes on the
summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States,
Northeast Delta Dental
 has been the
primary sponsor of the Mount Washington Road Race since
2001, when the company
first linked its professional interests in healthcare to one of
New England’s most celebrated challenges to human fitness. The
company
‘s President & CEO,
Tom Raffio, made a very respectable ascent himself last year,
reaching the 6288-foot high finish line in one hour 50 minutes
and 51 seconds. On the occasion of the 52nd “Run to
the Clouds,” Northeast Delta Dental
has assumed a new
level of commitment to the race, which now officially bears the
company’s name as part of its title.
 
With
this significant increase in support, this year
the Northeast
Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race will contribute
half
of the race’s
net proceeds
 to
the Coos County Family Health Services
in
nearby Berlin, NH
. This
community-based organization provides personalized,
comprehensive health
and dental care
and social services to everyone, regardless of economic status.
 
Since 1995, the
Northeast Delta Dental Foundation has funded over $45,000 to
support the center’s school-based oral health education,
fluoride rinse,
 and preventive
dental services. The center’s
status
as the new beneficiary of the race is a reminder of the Auto
Road’s and Northeast Delta Dental’s extensive ties to the regio
n, and to the
race’s commitment to the well-being of the larger community.
The race expects
that this year’s funding will be used especially to enhance the
Coos County Family Health Services’ oral health programs.
 


The
field for the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race
is filled by
means of an online lottery, with places reserved by invitation
for elite
runners.
 


Check Also

5 Sub-2:05 Men, 11 sub-2:23 Women & P Past Champions to Contest Boston Marathon (full lists)

John Hancock Announces 2019 Boston Marathon Elite Team 82 Elite Athletes, Including Olympians, Paralympians, World …

Leave a Reply

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
X