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Canady 58:27! at Mt. Washington

NORTHEAST
DELTA DENTAL MOUNT WASHINGTON ROAD RACE

Mt.
Washington Auto Road, 7.6 miles all-uphill footrace

‰Û¢
      First-timer Sage Canaday, defending champion Kim Dobson
dominate talented field

‰Û¢
      Third-fastest men’s time ever, second-fastest women’s
 

Pinkham
Notch, N.H. – June 16, 2012

Sage
Canaday, a marathoner with little previous experience in
uphill racing, blew away the field today in the 52nd Northeast
Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race, a 7.6-mile all-uphill
grind to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern
United States. Starting conservatively, then moving to the
lead after the first two miles, 26-year-old Canaday pulled
away from the pack and reached the 6288-foot summit in 58
minutes 27 seconds, the third-fastest time ever recorded here.

Meanwhile,
Kim Dobson, who won this race in her first attempt last year,
returned even stronger and faster this time, dropping her
strongest challengers and running up the Mt. Washington Auto
Road ‰ÛÓ 4560 feet of vertical gain, at an average grade of 12
percent ‰ÛÓ to win the women’s race in one hour 9 minutes 25
seconds.

Dobson,
28, became only the second woman ever to break the 70-minute
barrier on Mt. Washington. Her time today is one minute and
five seconds slower than the course record set in 2010 by
Ethiopian runner Shewarge Amare (1:08:20).

The
men’s record is 56:41, set in 2004 by world mountain running
champion Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand. Neither Amare nor
Wyatt entered the race this year. The only other man ever to
run here faster than Canaday was Daniel Kihara of Kenya, who
completed 1996 race up the Auto Road in 58:21.

Canaday,
who moved from his native Oregon to Boulder, Colorado, two
weeks ago, and Dobson, of Denver, Colo., both faced formidable
competition. The men’s field was particularly strong, since
this year’s Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race
served as the selection event for the U.S. men’s national
mountain running team, which will compete in the world
championships in Italy on September 2. The women’s field
included two-time Mt. Washington winner Brandy Erholtz of
Evergreen, Colorado, and Kasie Enman of Huntington, Vermont,
the reigning women’s world mountain running champion.

At
the start, 25-year-old Glenn Randall, a former NCAA Nordic
skiing champion, seized the lead, followed by a large pack of
other American men hoping to finish in the top six and thereby
be selected for the national team. With them was Marco
deGasperi, 35, of Bormio, Italy, himself a six-time world
mountain champion and in most eyes the pre-race favorite.

“I
started conservatively,” said Canaday afterward. “I saw a
couple of other guys hanging back who had won here before, and
I figured they knew what they were doing.  Then, around mile
two, I went ahead.”

The
only man who went with him was Joe Gray, 28, of Newcastle,
Washington. A former All-American steeplechaser and U.S.
mountain team veteran, Gray had finished 4th and 3rd in two
previous Mt. Washington appearances and was determined to
retain his place on the national team.

“Last
time I was here, I sort of dogged it,” said Gray. “This time I
tried to stick it.” Canaday’s gap over Gray extended steadily
through the race, but no one else could come close to Gray,
who finished in one hour 33 seconds.

Looking
comfortable and hardly out of breath at the summit, Canaday,
who formerly trained as a marathoner with the Hanson-Brooks
summed up the experience. “I love this race! I was hoping I’d
be good at uphill running.”

Early
in the race, De Gasperi abandoned thoughts of winning, but he
picked off several of the others in the chasing pack,
eventually finishing fifth in 1:01:38. “I came here trying to
win, but I couldn’t get the right feelings for a victory, with
those guys. “When Joe and Sage took the lead, it wasn’t
possible for my legs to keep up.”

Just
ahead of de Gasperi was the hottest battle of the day, as
Randall found himself shoulder-to-shoulder with Central
Connecticut University coach and two-time Mt. Washington
champion Eric Blake of New Britain, Conn. Blake, 33, had run
this race last year with a torn hamstring, undergone surgery
for it last July, and resumed running only in December.

“I’m
back!” he exclaimed in jubilation at the finish, having
powered ahead of Randall just before the daunting 22 percent
grade that marks the final 70 yards of the course. “I had two
goals today ‰ÛÓ to make the team, and to win. I got one of them.
But when Sage took off he looked strong. It was his race.”
Blake took third happily in one hour and 54 seconds.

Of
his early surge to the front, Randall said, “I go out and try
to run my own race. I’m not going to do well with a
sit-and-kick approach.” As one indication of the
competitiveness of this year’s field, Randall’s time (one hour
and 58 seconds) was nearly three minutes faster than he ran in
2011, when he also placed fourth.

Dobson
finished exhausted but pleased by her victory and her
improvement on her 2011 time. “The hill wasn’t as steep today
as last year!” she quipped. “I felt good. Brandy and Kasie are
very strong, so I was nervous, but I kept my focus. I knew
from recent training that I’d be faster than last year.”

Erholtz,
34, who had led Dobson for the first five miles in their 2011
meeting here, held no similar expectations this time. “Usually
I feel good from the starting gun,” she said, “but this year
was harder. I started feeling stronger around the treeline.”
Finishing in 1:12:27, Erholtz was second to Dobson for the
second year in a row. She said she would have liked to stay
closer, but she pointed out that Dobson also claims the
second-fastest time among women ever in the Pike’s Peak Ascent
in Colorado.  

Enman
placed third in 1:14:55, completing a duplication of last
year, when she was also third after Dobson and Erholtz. “I was
a little faster than last year,” she said, “but for me a paved
course is tough!” Enman’s world championship victory last year
in Albania came on trails and followed an up-and-down route.

Dobson,
Erholtz and Enman expect to meet again in three weeks, when
the U.S. women’s mountain running team selection race will
take place at Loon Mountain in Lincoln, N.H. They may be
joined there by 46-year-old Laura Haefeli of Del Norte,
Colorado, who placed fourth overall today and won the women’s
masters prize in 1:15:10. Three minutes behind her and 25
years younger was fifth-place Carolyn Stocker of Westfield,
Mass. (1:18:58).

Top
finisher in the men’s masters division was veteran mountain
runner and three-time Mt. Washington winner Simon Gutierrez,
of Colorado Springs, Colo., who placed ninth overall in
1:02:24.  The oldest finisher was George Etzweiler, 92, of
State College, Pennsylvania, in 2:52:35. In all, a record 952
runners completed the race ‰ÛÓ 672 men, 280 women.

Top
men:

1. 
Sage Canaday, 26, Sheridan, Ore., and Boulder, Colo., 58:27


2. 
Joseph Gray, 28, Newcastle, Wash., 1:00:33

3. 
Eric Blake, 33, New Britain, Conn., 1:00:54

4. 
Glenn Randall, 25, Mesa, Colo., 1:00:58

5. 
Marco deGasperi, 35, Bormio, Italy, 1:01:38

6. 
Tommy Manning, 36, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1:01:52

7. 
Tim Chichester, 23, Mount Morris, N.Y., 1:02:06

8. 
Max King, 32, Bend, Ore., 1:02:21

9. 
Simon Gutierrez, 46, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1:02:24

10.
Alex Nichols, 27, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1:02:41

Top
women:

1. 
Kim Dobson, 28, Denver, Colo., 1:09:25

2. 
Brandy Erholtz, 34, Evergreen, Colo., 1:12:27

3. 
Kasie Enman, 32, Huntington, Vt., 1:14:55

4. 
Laura Haefeli, 44, Del Norte, Colo., 1:15:10

5. 
Carolyn Stocker, 19, Westfield, Mass., 1:18:58

6. 
Jessica Snyder, 28, Rochester, N.Y., 1:19:32

7. 
Kaitlin Anelauskas, 26, Somerville, Mass., 1:20:25

8. 
Liz Gottlieb, 36, San Rafael, Calif., 1:23:07

9. 
Liza Grudzinski, 32, Newburgh, N.Y., 1:23:10

10.
Layce Alves, 32, Rockport, Mass., 1:25:44

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