Gray and Dobson look to repeat at 56th Northeast Delta Dental Mt Washington Road Race – Top contenders include Tommaso Vaccina and Francesco Puppi from Italy, along with former winners Eric Blake, Shannon Payne and Brandy Erholtz.
Joseph Gray and Kim Dobson will be looking to repeat their 2015 performances at the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race, which takes place this year on Saturday June 18th at the Mount Washington Auto Road.
Gray, of Colorado Springs, CO, has won the race the last two years, including his phenomenal time of 58:15 in 2015 which is the second fastest time ever on the mountain, just behind the course record of Jonathan Wyatt, who ran a 56:41 in 2004. His main competition will come from three runners- one a former winner, Eric Blake, of West Hartford, CT, who has dueled with Gray many times on the mountain. His other two big rivals will be two Italian runners who finished first and third last year at the World Long Distance Challenge in Zermatt, Switzerland, Tommaso Vaccina and Francesco Puppi. Although this will be the first time at Washington for both runners, they are both excellent climbers in the tradition of so many powerful Italian mountain runners. Other strong contenders in the men’s field include the ageless former winner, Simon Gutierrez of Colorado Springs, CO, Brandon Newbould of Nottingham, NH, and Daniel Princic of Reading, MA. Gutierrez turned 50 this year and looks to set a new age division record.
On the women’s side, Dobson looks to continue her undefeated streak. She has three wins in three attempts and has broken 1:10 in her fastest ascent time on the mountain. Dobson will be challenged by Kim Nedeau of Leverett, MA, Denise Sandahl of Bow, NH, Amber Ferreira of Concord, NH, Mary Baldwin of Colorado Springs, CO and Carolyn Stocker of Westfield, MA. Former race winners Brandy Erholtz of Evergreen, CO, Shannon Payne of Colorado Springs, CO, and 2011 World Mountain Running Champion, Kasie Enman of Huntington, VT are also strong contenders. Both Enman and Payne are coming off of long layoffs but still both are fierce competitors. Erholtz is expecting her second child in November but is still considered a strong contender for a top 10 finish. She finished second in 2013 when she was expecting her first child.
Although not competing for a top spot, 96-year-old George Etzweiler of State College, PA will be running the race again, looking for his 9th finish. George gets to celebrate Father’s Day weekend with his son Larry, who is also running the race and is 70 years old. George is also being inducted into this year’s Mount Washington Road Race Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame Ceremony will take place just before awards at the base of the mountain.
Complete information about the race is provided at the race website, www.mountwashingtonroadrace.com. The race will start at 9 PM at the base of the Auto Road. 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 800,000 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.
The race has donated over $50,000 to the dental programs of the Coos County Family Health Services. Based in nearby Berlin, NH, this community-based organization provides innovative, personalized, comprehensive health care and social services to everyone, regardless of economic status.
About The Race
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.