Home >> Regional News >> Past Champions to Duke it Out at Mt. Washington

Past Champions to Duke it Out at Mt. Washington

Northeast
Delta Dental
Mount
Washington Road Race

Mt.
Washington Auto Road

June
21,
2014 ‰ÛÒ 9:00 a.m.

 

  • Past two years‰Ûª male winners Blake and
    Canaday take on Joe Gray (again)
  • Belotti challenges Erholtz in women‰Ûªs
    field; Haefeli, Arritola withdrawn
  • Former champion Gutierrez, veteran Byrne,
    newcomers Bak, Miller and Manzi vie for top places among
    men; Payne, Stocker, Enman
  • threaten women‰Ûªs co-favorites

 

Pinkham
Notch, N.H. ‰ÛÒ June 15, 2014

 

The
Northeast
Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race
has seen a
couple of
race-to-the-wire  finishes in recent
years, but more often the eventual winner has broken away
from the field
somewhere on the windswept upper slopes of the highest peak
in the northeastern
United States and finished all alone in front. Next
Saturday‰Ûªs 54th
edition of this all-uphill footrace could well be the scene
for close finishes,
as three well-matched men battle each other for the third
time in as many years
and a two-time women‰Ûªs Mt. Washington champion faces a
challenge from a former
world mountain running champion.

 

In
the men‰Ûªs race, defending champion Eric Blake of
West Hartford,
Connecticut, and 2012 winner Sage
Canaday
of Boulder, Colorado, will have to match their
best-ever Mt.
Washington performances if they expect to hold off Joe
Gray
of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Gray, who finished
second
here in both 2012 and 2013, was the top American male last
fall at the World
Mountain Championships in Poland and placed fourth in the
USATF cross-country
national championships in February.

 

Having
won the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road
Race
in 2006 and again
in 2008, in one of the closest finishes ever, Blake won
again last year by
running his personal best time for the course last year, 59
minutes 57 seconds.
Canaday‰Ûªs winning time of 58:27 in 2012 was the
third-fastest ever recorded in
this race, and his third place finish here last year came
one week after he won
a major 50-kilometer trail race. Canaday and Blake are two
of only seven people
ever to run up the up the 7.6-mile Mt.
Washington Auto Road
in under one hour; Gray could
become the eighth this
year.

 

Brandy
Erholtz

of Evergreen, Colorado, winner of the
Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race in 2008
and 2009, was a
particularly impressive runnerup in 2013; four months
pregnant at the time, she
beat all other women in the field except fellow Coloradan
Laura Haefeli.
Haefeli recently withdrew from this year‰Ûªs race and so will
not be on hand to
defend her title.

 

Another
recent withdrawal is that of Morgan
Arritola of Idaho. Arritola, who placed third in the 2012
World Mountain
Running Championships and won the U.S. National Mountain
Championship a year
later, was a possible co-favorite in what would have been
her Mt. Washington
debut.

 

Erholtz
must still contend with Valentina Belotti, who won
the women‰Ûªs
World Mountain Running Association championship in Italy in
2009 and was
runnerup in that race in 2010 and 2012. Belotti will be
running up Mt.
Washington for the first time.

 

While
the men‰Ûªs field looks like a three-way
race, two newcomers may break up the favored trio. Belotti‰Ûªs
countryman Emanuele Manzi will bring considerable
mountain-running experience to his Mt. Washington debut. A
protégé of Italian
mountain running legend Marco de Gasperi, Manzi run on the
Italian national team
in six World Championships.

 

The
other strongest threats from first-time
competitors here come from Ryan Bak
of Bend, Oregon, and Zach Miller of
Manitou Springs. Colorado. Bak, who expected to compete at
Mt. Washington in
both of the last two years but had to withdraw each time,
has run a 2:14:17
marathon ‰ÛÒ a time resembling the marathon bests of several
previous Mt.
Washington winners. Miller,
a member of the Nike Trail
Elite Team,
won the 2013 JFK 50 Miler and has set course records in
several other
ultramarathons this year. 

 

As
usual, nobody can ignore Simon Gutierrez, of
Colorado Springs.
Winner of this race in 2002, 2003 and 2005, Gutierrez holds
the course record
for masters (over 40) runners, a time of 1:01:34, which he
ran in 2008.
Gutierrez placed fifth in 2005 and last year was fourth
after Blake, Gray and
Canaday.

 

For
that fourth place finish in 2013,
Gutierrez had to outduel Matt Byrne,
of Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the final 50 yards. Byrne, who
claims several
top-five finishes, returns to Mt. Washington for another
attempt.

 

Two
or
three other women are possible dark horses in this year‰Ûªs
race. One is Kasie Enman, of Huntington, Vermont,
who in 2011 became the first American woman to win the World
Mountain Running
Championship, and who placed third at Mt. Washington in 2011
and 2012.   Enman woud be a co-favorite with Erholtz and
Belotti, except that her mountain running strength is
greater on uneven terrain
than on an all-uphill grade.

 

Another
contender
may be Carolyn Stocker, of
Westfield, Mass. In 2011, at the age of 18, Stocker placed
seventh here,
breaking the course record for juniors (19 and under).  She
lowered that record while placing fifth
in 2012. Having missed the race last year because of an
injury, she returns
with deeper experience in mountain running, two more seasons
of competing in
cross-country and track at the University of Maine, and
superior winter
conditioning from snowshoe racing.

 

An
intriguing
unknown in this year‰Ûªs race is how well Shannon Payne,
of Boulder, Colorado, will fare against the rest of
the field on Mt. Washington‰Ûªs 12 percent grade. A late entry
into the race,
Payne beat Erholtz by four minutes recently at the Black
Canyon Ascent in
Colorado and came close to the course record set there by
two-time Mt.
Washington champion Lisa Dobson (who will not be in next
Saturday‰Ûªs race).  


Each year‰Ûªs race includes prizes for the first male and
female New Hampshire
finishers.  This year‰Ûªs men‰Ûªs race is a
copy of the past several, as brothers Justin
Freeman
, of New Hampton NH, and Kris
Freeman
of Thornton will bring their Olympic Nordic
skiing strength to the
race again. Last year brother Justin won the prize while
placing eighth overall.

 

The
women‰Ûªs
race for first Granite Stater will be exciting, as it pits
last year‰Ûªs
winner Larisa Dannis, of Strafford,
against Diana Davis of Exeter and Abbey Woods
of Laconia.

 

[more]

 

The
Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race
begins at the
Auto Road base on Route 16 north of Pinkham Notch and climbs
to the 6288-foot
summit at an average grade of 12 percent and a net altitude
gain of 4650
feet.  The runners
battle
not
only each other but the sheer force of gravity and Mt.
Washington‰Ûªs famously severe winds. 

 

Former
six-time
World Mountain Champion Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand holds
the men‰Ûªs
course record at Mt. Washington: 56 minutes 41 seconds, set
in 2004.  The women‰Ûªs record was set in 2010 by the
23-year-old Ethiopian runner Shewarge Amare, who made the
ascent in one hour
eight minutes 21 seconds.

 

Based
in Concord, NH, Northeast Delta Dental has sponsored
the race up the historic Mt. Washington Auto Road since
2001. The health
company‰Ûªs CEO, Tom Raffio, has run
the race in a personal best of one hour 50 minutes and 51
seconds. In 2012,
Northeast Delta Dental increased its already strong support
for the event,
making it officially the Northeast Delta Dental Mount
Washington Road Race.

 

Fifty
percent of all proceeds from the race will be donated to the
Coos
County Family

Health
Services

for their oral health programs.
Based in nearby Berlin, NH, this community-based
organization
provides
innovative, personalized, comprehensive health care and
social services to everyone, regardless of economic status.

 

Check Also

2019 NER Pub Series XXII Schedule, Rules & Manifesto

Scroll down past race listings for all important rules of engagement   The Schedule:   …

Leave a Reply

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