2010 Champions Amare & Siemers Withdraw from 51st Mt. Washington Road Race

               51st Mount Washington
Road Race

Mt. Washington Auto Road

June 18,
2011 ‰ÛÒ 9 a.m.


Amare withdraws from
this year‰Ûªs race

Erholtz faces Enman,
Ferreira, Herron and others in strong women‰Ûªs field

Blake, Gates,
Gutierrez, Byrne, Randall lead men‰Ûªs field

Stars from other
sports join elite

Davis will run
uphill backward, Mather will make five ascents

Hall of Fame
ceremony honors Froude, Kihara, Gallagher


June 11, 2011 —
Pinkham Notch, N.H.


Defending champion and course
record-holder Shewarge Amare has withdrawn from this year‰Ûªs Mount Washington
Road Race.  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, reportedly
lost her passport and other papers on a recent trip to race in Brazil.  The problems of reinstating her travel and
residence status have occupied so much of her time that she could not be sure
of being able to travel or compete in the U.S. this month, and she has conveyed
her regrets to the race organizers. 


The race to the 6288-foot summit of
the highest peak in the northeastern U.S. will take place this year on June 18 without
either the women‰Ûªs or the men‰Ûªs defending champion.  Chris Siemers, of Arvada, Colorado, who last
year won a wire-to-wire duel with two-time former winner Eric Blake, of New Britain, Conn., determined several weeks ago
that he must have surgery to correct a persistent hip injury he sustained last




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); and Tommy Manning of Colorado Springs (7th
in 2009, 6th last year).  First-time
contenders who could present a serious challenge to the veterans include Glenn Randall of Mesa, Colo., who last
year won the Vail Hill Climb, the Mt. Evans Ascent and the Pikes Peak Ascent
(ahead of Gates and Blake) in Colorado; Ryan
of Boone, N.C., who has won the Squaw Valley 3.6-mile ascent and the
Bear Run in Linville, N.C., and who trains on a hill that gains 1000 feet of
altitude in 1.1 miles; and Cole Crosby
of Norman, Oklahoma, a former University of Oklahoma track and cross-country




With Amare out, the presumed women‰Ûªs
favorite is two-time winner (2008, 2009) Brandy
of Bailey, Colo., who was third last year and whose other recent
successes include winning the 2010 Vail Hillclimb. Her strongest competition
should come from Kasie Enman of
Huntington, Vermont (2nd in 2008); Amber Ferreira of Concord, N.H. (7th last year);
Jennifer Campbell, of Newmarket, N.H. (3rd in 2009, 9th
last year); and Camille Herron of
Lafayette, Indiana, who placed 6th here in 2008 and who, following a
period of injury, has won four marathons in the past six months ‰ÛÒ Dallas,
Birmingham (Alabama), Napa Valley and Fargo. 
First-time Mt. Washington challengers include Kim Dobson of Denver, Colo., who set the women‰Ûªs course record last year in the Mt. Evans Ascent in
Colorado, and Cindy Harris of
Indianapolis, who has won the Empire State Building Run-up in New York City
four times.




While some of the top entrants at
Mt. Washington are widely accomplished road-racers, others are better known for
accomplishments in different endurance sports. 
One notable example is Amber
, who last winter won the Granite State snowshoe racing series and
then went on to win the senior women‰Ûªs race at the Snowshoe National
championship.  Two more are brothers Justin Freeman and Kris Freeman,
both of whom have competed on the U.S. Olympic cross-country ski team.  Kris, of Thornton, N.H., finished 15th
in the 2010 Mount Washington Road Race, two places ahead of older brother
Justin, who lives in New Hampton, N.H. Kris is also the first person with Type
1 diabetes to earn a place on the U.S. Nordic team.


Among the strongest runners in the
senior division of this year‰Ûªs race is Peter
of Sunderland, Mass. Now 66 years old, Gagarin is a five-time U.S.
national champion in the sport of orienteering, in which each entrant navigates
with map and compass to a series of checkpoints in unfamiliar and usually
wooded terrain. At the masters level he is regarded as perhaps the best
non-European competitor in the sport. 


And then there‰Ûªs Tim Mather. Mather, 46, of Marlborough,
Conn., is competing this year in all five of the races up the Mt. Washington
Auto Road.  He raced in the annual Ski To
the Clouds in March; he‰Ûªll run the footrace on June 18; the following week
he‰Ûªll be back at the Auto Road for the Climb To the Clouds, a revival of the
popular automobile hillclimb; on July 9 he‰Ûªll ride his bicycle in Newton‰Ûªs
Revenge, the first of two bicycle races up the Auto Road each summer; and he‰Ûªll
compete in the other bike race, the older and better-known Mt. Washington Auto
Road Bicycle Hillclimb, on August 20.   A
week before that final bicycle hillclimb, Mather will also ride in the 24 Hours
of Great Glen, a day-and-night endurance event for off-road bicycles on the
Great Glen Trails, adjacent to the Auto Road.




Frequently the Mount Washington Road
Race includes an entrant or two who are simultaneously running the race and
publicizing a worthy cause, usually related to health.  This year, Don Davis of Reading, Mass., plans to make the ascent by running up
the Auto Road backward, as part of an effort to qualify for the Guinness Book
of World Records.  At the same time,
he‰Ûªll be striving to raise awareness of Donate Life New England, a non-profit
organization based in Waltham, Mass., that promotes organ and tissue donation.




On Friday, June 17, at the pre-race gathering at the foot of
the Auto Road, the Mount Washington Hall of Fame will induct three new members,
all former champions in the ‰ÛÏRace with Only One Hill.‰Û  These include Mike Gallagher of Vermont,
competed on three U.S. Olympic cross-country ski teams and won the Mount
Washington Road Race four consecutive years (1968-1971); former New Zealand
Olympic marathoner  Derek Froude, who in 1990 became the first person to run up Mt.
Washington in under one hour (59:17); and Kenyan mountain runner Daniel Kihara, who set a then-course
record of 58:21 in his 1996 Mt. Washington debut and won again in 1999, 2000
and 2001. 


Froude, who now lives in Tampa, and Gallagher will be present for
the induction ceremony.  Kihara will be
inducted in absentia.  The Friday evening
presentation begins at 6 p.m. in the big tent next to the starting area of the
race, just off Route 16 between Jackson and Gorham, N.H.




The principal sponsor of the Mount
Washington Road Race is Northeast Delta
, which this year is celebrating its 50th anniversary,
just as the Auto Road is celebrating its 150th.  In recognition of the occasion ‰ÛÒ and to see whether
or not he can improve on his time from last year‰Ûªs race — Northeast Delta
Dental CEO Tom Raffio will run on
Saturday wearing race number 50.  Race
director Mary Power and Auto Road general manager Howie Wemyss will present
Raffio‰Ûªs number to him as part of the Friday evening festivities. 


This year‰Ûªs Mount Washington Road
Race 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 Mount  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 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 downhill break.  The final 70 yards rises at a 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. 



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