Press release from our friends at the Mt Washington Road Race where several top American trail runners dominated. Defending USA Mountain Running Champion Joe Gray set a new American course record. Photos by Joe Viger Photography.
55th Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race Results
· Joe Gray doubles up with 2nd fastest time at Mt. Washington
· Kim Dobson returns to the mountain with a bang
· Team Colorado runners shine again
· Freeman, Sandahl repeat as first New Hampshire finishers
Pinkham Notch, N.H. – June 20, 2015
Joe Gray (photo above by Joe Viger) did it again – and he did it in dominating fashion.
The mountain-running standout from Colorado Springs crushed it in the 55th Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race on Saturday, setting an American record for the race on the way to a repeat title. His time of 58 minutes and 15 seconds was the second fastest in the history of the race.
Gray and Kim Dobson, who made a triumphant return to the mountain, led another Colorado assault on New Hampshire and the grueling 7.6-mile, all-uphill Mt. Washington Auto Road course.
Both runners are 31 and both cruised to triumphs on a glorious, sun-splashed day on the highest peak in the Northeast. Temperatures were in the low 40s and climbing and there was not a lot of wind when the first runners reached the peak and finish line at about 10 a.m.
Gray, of Colorado Springs, Colo., finished nearly three minutes ahead of his nearest competitor, fellow Coloradan Andy Wacker, and had no one to push him for most of the race.
Dobson (photo below by Joe Viger) was almost four minutes in front of Brandy Erholtz, a two-time winner of the race.
“Joe left me at about the two-mile mark and after that it was almost like a time trial for both of us,” said Wacker, who was running his first Mount Washington Road Race. “It was incredible he was able to do that time running by himself.”
6-time World Mountain Running Champion Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand owns the course record of 56:41, set in 2004.
Gray was excited about his win and his time, but was hoping to take a shot at Wyatt’s mark, too.
“I wasn’t focused on my pace well enough to get the overall mark,” he said. “But I’m definitely very, very happy with the day. I’ve had an up and down season so far. I came back and wanted to defend my title and run a better time than last year.”
He did both – convincingly.
He’s the first repeat winner of the race since Simon Gutierrez, who was sixth Saturday at age 49 in 1:04:02, won in 2002 and 2003.
After a series of runnerup and third-place finishes, Gray won his first Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race last year in a time of 59:09. Gray is one of eight runners who has completed the race in under an hour, and the only one to do it twice.
Wacker, 26 of Boulder, finished second in 1:00:59 and was well in front of Zach Miller, 26, of Manitou Springs, Colo., in 1:03:15. Luca Cagnati, 25, of Italy was fourth in 1:03:40.
Dobson won this race in 2011 and 2012. She was entered for the first time since then. Dobson broke away early as well and finished in 1:11:39. Erholtz (photo below by Joe Viger), who won the race in 2008 and 2009, finished in 1:15:34.
Dobson’s time fit between her winning times of 1:09:25 in 2009 and 1:12:11 in 2011.
“Some days you hit it right,” she said. “I remember in 2009 getting to the first mile and thinking it didn’t feel like a hill. Some days you feel spunky and some days you feel average. Today it felt like a hill. I guess it should.”
Laura Haefeli, 47 of Del Norte, Colo., who won the 2013 race, was third in 1:17. Katie Misuraca, 34, of Gloucester, Mass., was fourth in 1:17:37.
For the second year in a row and fourth time in the last five years, Colorado runners won both the men’s and women’s races. In addition, runners from Colorado swept the top three positions for both men and women Saturday. Colorado men grabbed six of the seven top spots in the race.
Mill Valley, CA trail runner Larisa Dannis pictured above on the steeped section of the course (photo by Joe Viger)
George Etzweiler of State College, Pa., was the final of 1,052 finishers in the race in 3:28:41. He’s 95 years old and was making a comeback. Etzweiler was unable to compete last year because of illness.
Justin Freeman, 38, of New Hampton was eighth overall in 1:05:55 and was the first finisher from New Hampshire for the third straight year and fourth time in the last five.
Freeman took nearly 30 seconds off his personal best mark in the race.
“It was a perfect day,” Freeman said. “I decided to run with no shirt. It was fairly warm at the bottom. There was a bit of a headwind near the top, but it was certainly not as windy as some years.”
Denise Sandahl, 34, of Bow was fifth overall in 1:18:42 in the women’s race for the second consecutive year and also repeated as the top New Hampshire woman. Sandahl was hoping to better her 1:17:21 of a year ago.
“My time was a little disappointing,” she said. “But I’ll take the fifth place and being the first from New Hampshire. I had fun. But it was painful fun.”
As part of the day’s festivities, four runners – Eric Blake, Eleonora Mendonca of Massachusetts, Eric Morse of Vermont and the late Peter Watson of Massachusetts – were inducted into the Mount Washington Road Race Hall of Fame during the post-race celebration.
Blake of West Hartford, Conn., is the head men’s and women’s track & field/cross country coach at Central Connecticut State University and won the race in 2006, 2008 and 2013. He was excited about a chance to challenge Gray and the field again Saturday, but was a late scratch because of injury.
Mendonca, who is retired and living on Cape Cod, won the race three straight times from 1976-78; Morse has been among the Top 10 finishers in the race 14 times and three times has been the runnerup; and Watson, who died in 2012, ran Mount Washington 23 times from 1988-2011. He was the organizer of Team Gloucester, which regularly sends an impressive number of runners to the race.
Complete race results can be found here.