Press release written by Paul Kirsch, Mount Washington Road Race. Photos by Joe Viger Photography.
Joe Gray gets fourth straight title while Shannon Payne gets her second win at Mount Washington.
PINKHAM NOTCH, NH – Shannon Payne (pictured above) has special memories of the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race. After winning it in 2014, she struggled with injuries for a year. While she did race in the 2016 edition of the famed race to the summit, she was not 100% back yet. This year, she dominated the race in warm conditions, taking the lead in the first mile from fellow Coloradan, Brandy Erholtz and leading the rest of the way. Payne finished in 1:11:19, four and a half minutes ahead of Erholtz. “This was my first big mountain race ever when I ran it in 2014. To come back and win it again this year was such a great feeling. Mount Washington will always be special to me,” noted Payne.
Just behind Erholtz was New Brunswick, Canada’s Shelley Doucet, who finished in 1:16:33 in her first big mountain race ever. Doucet just started running three years ago and followed up an impressive finish at this year’s Boston Marathon with today’s strong result.
Rounding out the top ten for the women was Apryl Sabadosa (Westfield, MA) in 1:19:24, Amber Ferreira (Concord, NH) in 1:21:12, Laura Brustolon (Littleton, MA) in 1:22:46, Kim Nedeau (Leverett, MA) in 1:23:01, Kelsey Allen (Wendell, MA) in 1:26:07, Kristin Barry (Scarborough, ME) in 1:26:43 and Ashley Busa (Portsmouth, NH) in 1:26:55.
In the men’s race, it was the Joe Gray show for the fourth year in a row. Gray (Colorado Springs, CO), who was the 2016 World Mountain Running Champion, led the race the whole way. In the first mile, Kenyan Francis Wangari matched Gray step for step. They were followed by 2012 winner Sage Canaday (Boulder, CO), 2014 Nordic Olympian, Noah Hoffman (Park City, UT and training in Hanover, NH) and former winner Eric Blake (New Haven, CT). As the race continued, Wangari began to fade and was overtaken by Canaday who kept the pressure up on Gray for the next few miles.
As the runners reached Mile 5 of the race, Gray began to increase his lead, with an unrelenting pace in the day’s heat, finishing in 58:58. Gray is one of a small group of runners who has broken the one-hour mark on the Auto Road. Canaday finished in 1:00:45 in second place, followed by Blake in 1:01:36, Wangari in 1:07:03 and Hoffman in 1:07:13.
The rest of the top ten for the men were Drew Best, (Amherst, MA) in 1:08:36, Brandon Newbould (Nottingham, NH) in 1:08:48, Nick Aguila (Manchester, NH) in 1:09:18, Nacho Hernando-Angulo (Bay Shore, NY) in 1:09:38 and Simon Gutierrez (Alamosa, CO) in 1:10:14.
1047 runners finished the race, with the end of the field brought up by 97-year-old George Etzweiler, who finished in a time of 4:05:27. Etzweiler, of State College, PA, continues to break age records at the race as he returns each year. This year his grandson accompanied him.
Fifty percent of all proceeds from the race will be donated to the Coos County Family Health Services in Berlin. Northeast Delta Dental has sponsored the race up the historic Mt. Washington Auto Road since 2001. The dental insurance company, headquartered in Concord, N.H., with sales offices in Saco, Maine, and Burlington, Vt., provides dental benefits to more than 850,000 people in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, including individuals and families, and organizations of all sizes. Northeast Delta Dental’s President & CEO, Tom Raffio, has run the race in a personal best of 1:50:51. In 2012, Northeast Delta Dental increased its already strong support for the event, making it officially the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race.
Since 2012, the race has donated more than $80,000 to the dental programs of Coos County Family Health Services. Based in nearby Berlin, N.H., this community-based organization provides innovative, personalized, comprehensive health care and social services to everyone, regardless of economic status.
First opened in 1861 as the Mt. Washington Carriage Road, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is the country’s oldest manmade attraction. Located on Rt. 16 in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire, just north of the Mt. Washington Valley and minutes south of Gorham, the Auto Road has a long and winding history, much like its 7.6-mile trip up to the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast. For more information, visit www.MtWashingtonAutoRoad.com or call 603-466-3988.