Only One Hill – Chapter 2

In 2006 mountain & trail running legend Dave Dunham published “Only One Hill! A History of the Mt. Washington Road Race”. Each Friday for the next several weeks Dave will be publishing a chapter of his book on this website and on his blog. To purchase a hard copy of this book visit the Infinity Publishing website.

4th Mt Washington Road Race – August 13, 1961 – Sunday 1:30 PM – 79 Finishers.

The weather conditions for the revived race, returning after 23 years of dormancy, featured 60 degrees temperatures at the base and 34 degrees at the summit. Winds just under 60 MPH blew up sand from the road and mixed with clouds and fog to make the skies very dark at the finish line. Gusts of up to 90 miles per hour rattled the runners and finish line crew. Jock Semple took over as the race director on this 100th anniversary of the opening of the Carriage Road. The race was co-sponsored by the Berlin Athletic Boosters and the Mt Washington Centennial Committee.

At the start Semple noted, “President Kennedy wanted men to be fit, not dead, so please quit at the halfway house if you are in tough shape.” Bagpiper Bob Cummings played before the start and sent the runners off. All 79 finishers came in under the 2:15 time limit. The top five all finished under the 1938 course record of Francis Darrah.

This was the first year that runners did not have to, in Semple’s words, “negotiate the dozens of steps at the top.” John Kelley, who Semple called “the wing footed school teacher from Mystic CT”, broke from Larry Damon, the National Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and New England 10-mile champion, to win by one and a half minutes. Kelley was, among his many accomplishments, the 1957 BAA marathon champion, and Damon was an Olympian on the U.S. ski team in 1956 and 1960.

Billy Squires wrote in his article Run to the Clouds, which appeared in the Distance Running Log, “Three weeks before …I was called on the phone by Jock Semple…about a mountain run 8 ¼ miles up a dirt road to the summit of famous Mt Washington. I thought this was a joke at first, but soon he explained that 25 years ago they held a race and…this year wanted a renewal of the race.” Squires added, “I have always had a desire for a challenge. In track competition there are many, but here was a real test of human fortitude.” He trained with teammates Jerry Harvey and Ken Mueller, who drove the five hours from Boston the day before. The group camped out at the base and had a typical early 1960’s athletes breakfast “oatmeal, soft boiled eggs, two orders of toast, and tea.” Squires and his teammates applied Vaseline “for protection against the cold and wind.” At the halfway point he was in sixteenth place despite trouble with a calf muscle, which caused him to walk. Above the treeline he experienced more adversity and “walked again, putting on my sweat shirt that I had wished I had left behind me in the first mile. It now turned out to be a welcome friend.” He was later hit by wind gusts of up to 92 MPH reporting that “a gust of wind hit us and we fell.” At the finish he “grabbed a blanket held by Bob Campbell, one of the officials and a good friend, then walked for a few minutes, after which I flopped into a car for the descent to the starting point.” Squires finished thirteenth and his training partners Mueller and Harvey finished sixth and fifteenth respectively.

At the awards ceremony Russ Foster, the son of George Foster, presented the Foster trophy as Francis Darrah looked on. The top ten received trophies with a special Mt Washington Carriage Road Centennial medallion. Those finishing eleventh to fifteenth place received silver medals, and all finisher enjoyed a buffet lunch.

The crowd of spectators at the race was estimated to be over 1,200. Mike O’Hara of St Anthony’s was the only recorded finisher from the 1930’s to run, placing 34th in 1:30:46. Team results were not given, however the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) placed five runners in the top six places and 13 in the top 28. The combined time for the top five BAA runners was an excellent 6:02:47, and it would be another 16 years before a squad would run faster. The North Medford Club (NMC) had a combined time of 7:12:59. Later in the day a half-inch of snowfall was recorded on the summit.

100th Anniversary sign at the entrance to the Auto Road

100th Anniversary sign at the entrance to the Auto Road

Potpourri from 1961: Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space as he circled the Globe. US President John F. Kennedy advised “every prudent family should have a bomb shelter.” The Berlin wall was built in East Germany. The top movie of the year was 101 Dalmatians and the top Television show was Wagon Train. Minimum wage was $1.25, a gallon of gas was $.31, and the cost of a home was $16,500.

All available results
Place Name Club Time
1 John J Kelley BAA 1:08:54 Course Record
2 Larry Damon BAA 1:10:33
3 Duane Merchant BAA 1:13:02
4 Angus Wooten Electric boat 1:13:07 FW
5 Al Confalone BAA 1:14:34
6 Ken Mueller BAA 1:15:44
7 Gordon McKenzie NYPC 1:16:12
8 George Terry Electric boat 1:16:33
9 Dick Vehlow 1:17:13
10 Bill Smith BAA 1:18:19
11 Erkki Kaunisto Reipas AC 1:18:30
12 Bob Cummings NMC 1:21:11
13 Bill Squires BAA 1:21:21
14 Wayne Lamothe NMC 1:21:39
15 Jerry Harvey BAA 1:22:25
16 Bob Zollinhoffer BAA 1:24:06
17 Stan Tiernan NMC 1:24:12
18 Al Meehan 1:24:15
19 George Cushmac NETC 1:25:11
20 Raimo Ahti Reipas AC 1:25:24
21 Don Fay BAA 1:25:36
22 Tony Sapienza BAA 1:26:46
23 Dick Clapp NY Pioneer 1:26:53
24 John DiComandrea BAA 1:27:02
25 Bob Schrader 1:27:04
26 Ralph Eilberg Del-Val AA 1:27:47
27 Greg Bigelow Cntrl CT AA 1:28:11
28 Dick Packard BAA 1:28:25
29 Bob Powers 1:28:28
30 Bill Shrader 1:28:53
31 Dick Moseley 1:28:56
32 Tom Sanders 1:29:07
33 Ron Dwyer 1:29:55
34 Mike O’Hara St Anthony’s 1:30:46
35 Graham Parnell Spartan AC 1:31:03
36 Bob Avery Spartan AC 1:31:19
37 Royce Sawyer NMC 1:31:21
38 Ed Ouellette Maine 1:32:06
39 Sumner Sears Lynn AC 1:32:16
40 Erik Erickson BAA 1:32:33
41 Bill Norris England 1:33:16
42 Sam Ouellette Maine 1:33:52
43 Carlton Comstock NMC 1:34:36
44 Dave Buddington BAA 1:34:51

5th Mt Washington Road Race – July 15, 1962 – Sunday – 84 Finishers

For the first time the race was not run in August, moving to the third Sunday in July. John Kelley was a pre-race favorite in the field of 84 entrants. The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), the governing body for amateur athletics, sanctioned the race and a strong field was expected to challenge Kelley. Fred Norris, a 40-year-old carpenter from England, was among the favorites. He had been training with Kelley leading up to the race. The White Mountain Recreation Association sponsored the event and Jock Semple of the BAA was again the race director. According to Kelley’s account of the race in New England Runner magazine Norris and Kelley “ground out a slowly winding lead on the up-and-coming Duane Merchant after trading leads with him through the first two miles.” After the halfway point Norris began to pull away. Kelley heard him “call(s) out over his shoulder, ‘Does this keep on like this all the way?’” Soon after, Norris pulled away for good in the sleet covered, fog-shrouded Summit. Norris became the first runner to break 65 minutes, an incredible feat that would not be matched for another 15 years. Kelley ran the second fastest time, and hence, the fastest losing time. No team results were given as only the names of the top ten finishers was available however; the BAA had five runners finish in the top ten for a combined time of 6:07:52. A record 84 runners finished. Earlier in the year (according to Not without Peril) “six Polaris Sno-Travelers made a successful ascent of Mt Washington.” These were the earliest version of snowmobiles.

Norris’s time would stand as the top for 40+ runners for almost 40 more years. Duane Merchant lowered his time from the previous year to 1:11:17. This time still ranks among the top times for runners under the age of 20. Peter Burkhart of the BAA was one of the 74 finishers whose result was not listed. He wrote to the Hockomock Swamp Rat stating that the weather was tough. “The hail was bal-bearing size at seven miles and ice cold. You were frozen at an angle while running. Dense fog? You could see ZERO at some points.” Burkhart continued “Someone said that winner Fred Norris actually outran the storm to the top.” He also gave some insight into the camaraderie amongst the small field. “In those days all the runners bunked together before the race at the hotel, so I managed to get an extra warm shirt after the race from Jim Welch (former USA Junior 30K champ). As a rookie I was amazed at how all the guys pulled together as ‘us against the mountain’ rather than separate teams.” He also notes how strong a runner Norris was. “Fred Norris was also the World record holder in the 1-hour run way back when. A typical pre-race warmup for Fred was 10×440 in 70 followed by a sub 50 ten miler!” It was also rumored that Norris would train by running behind the bus that shuttled him from the coal mine he worked in to his house. Fred’s son Ed Norris noted in a later edition of the Hockomock Swamp Rat that “To set the record straight, my father, Fred Norris, didn’t even run hard that day because he just wanted a hill workout for up-coming races. As a matter of fact, he ran back down when he got to the top. His total mileage that week was an even 100. Two weeks later he won the Salem (MA) 12 in 56:58. There is no doubt that he could have broken one hour if he wanted – snow included. It’s too bad he didn’t run the Mount in his prime, when he went 22 miles, 1680 yards in 2 hours even on a soggy track in Blackburn, England wearing spiked shoes with a steel plate inside to prevent the spikes from coming through!”

The Summit buildings in 1962

The Summit buildings in 1962

All Available results
Place Name Club Time Age City & State
1 Fred Norris 1:04:57 40 Brockton, MA CR
2 John Kelley BAA 1:08:28 31 Groton, CT FW
3 Duane Merchant BAA 1:11:17 19 Dennisport, MA
4 Al Confalone BAA 1:12:08 Wakefield, MA
5 George Waterhouse 1:15:47
6 Gerry Harvey BAA 1:16:12
7 Richard Clapp NY Pioneer 1:17:21 NY
8 Rod MacMichell NY Pioneer 1:18:19 NY
9 William Schab NYAC 1:19:04 NY
10 Richard Packard BAA 1:19:47

Kelley the “younger” is met by Kelley the “elder” at the finish.

Kelley the “younger” is met by Kelley the “elder” at the finish.

6th Mt Washington Road Race – June 19th 1966 – Sunday – 54 Finishers

After a four year hiatus the race was back to celebrate the centennial of the Auto Road. Leo Carroll a Harvard student from England took the victory with the second-fastest time ever (1:07:31). Carroll’s Boston Athletic Association (BAA) teammate John Kelley was 17 seconds in arrears giving Carroll the narrowest margin of victory in the six running’s of the race. Kelley was inducted into the national distance running Hall of Fame in 2002. His accomplishments included winning the 1957 BAA Marathon and finishing second five times. He also was the national marathon champion eight times (1956-1963) and represented the US in the Olympics in 1956 and 1960. Third place finisher Abe Assa noted in New England Runner, “That was my best race ever. I remember it was hot and I was picking people off up top. It was a great experience.” Team scoring at the time was typically done cross-country style, with the lowest points winning. The BAA placed five in the top eight with a combined time of 6:08:41 while the North Medford Club finished with a combined time of 7:22:37. Nearly half the field (24 runners) represented either BAA or NMC. Other finishers of note included Future BAA marathon winner Amby Burfoot, who placed fifth in 1:14:55 and a 20-year-old Bob Teschek who placed 34th. Burfoot’s time was the third fastest run by a finisher under the age of 20. Teschek would go on to become the race director 20 years later. Sixteenth place finisher Ted Corbitt was a member of the 1952 Olympic team and the American record holder for the 50 mile, 100 mile, and 24 hours on the track. He also played a central role in developing US distance running by founding the Road Runners Club of America and establishing guidelines for measuring courses accurately. Corbitt was known to train by running over 200 miles a week while working as a physical therapist 40 hours a week.

Potpourri from 1966: Life expectancy in the US was 70.2 years for the population of 196 million. A new home cost $23,000 and a first class stamp was $.05.

Complete results
Place Name Club Time
1 Leo Carroll BAA 1:07:31
2 John J Kelley BAA 1:07:48 FW
3 Abe Assa NYC 1:13:06
4 Roland Michant MT Royal of Canada 1:14:08
5 Amby Burfoot Central Conn. AA 1:14:55
6 Art Coolidge BAA 1:16:36
7 Mike Bigelow BAA 1:18:08
8 Stu Adams BAA 1:18:38
9 Rene Chereaux NMC 1:18:46
10 Pete Burkhart BAA 1:19:38
11 Bill Murphy BAA 1:20:31
12 Dick Clapp Millrose AA 1:22:38
13 Regis Forel MT Royal of Canada 1:22:49
14 Don Fay BAA 1:23:30
15 Ben Chapinski NMC 1:23:49
16 Ted Corbitt NY Pioneer Club 1:24:00
17 Ronald Simjian Greenwich CT 1:24:29
18 Robert Craigin Mt Park AA 1:25:05
19 Roland Dyer Gorham AC 1:26:15
20 Robert Esterbrook UNH 1:27:40
21 John Valentine 1:28:04
22 Bob Sullivan BAA 1:28:22
23 Norman Pelletier Metro AC 1:29:10
24 Robert Coolidge Goshen NY 1:29:27
25 George Esterbrook UNH 1:29:39
26 Gunter Vecser Viking Ski Club 1:30:15
27 Harold Burke Gorham AC 1:30:22
28 Brian Nann Woodland HS ME 1:30:56
29 Allen Thorndike Whitefield NH 1:31:12
30 William Warburton NMC 1:31:18
31 Carlton Bell Concord NH 1:32:05
32 Leonard Holmes NMC 1:32:50
33 Sam Stallard Viking Ski Club 1:33:36
34 Robert Teschek Concord NH 1:33:48
35 Bob Bamberger BAA 1:34:15
36 Alde Scandurre Millrose AA 1:35:35
37 Sam Ouellette NMC 1:35:54
38 Rick Bayko NMC 1:36:26
39 Ronald Dyer Gorham AC 1:37:08
40 Joe Kirby St Anthony BC 1:38:15
41 Bill Ginnis Spartan AC 1:39:22
42 Al Chamberlain Newcomb NY 1:40:48
43 Ralph Fairbanks NMC 1:40:55
44 Sigmund Podlozny NMC 1:41:15
45 George Lattarulo NMC 1:42:18
46 Dave Hasenfus NMC 1:43:15
47 Bill Castle NYAC 1:43:37
48 John Holden 1:49:45
49 Bob Page NMC 1:53:12
50 Raymond Maillett 1:55:17
51 Gene Ketchen Gorham AC 2:01:05
52 Robert O’Connell BAA 2:02:40
53 Bill Marot NMC 2:03:02
54 Mike Warburton NMC 2:10:37

7th Mt Washington Road Race – June 18, 1967 – Sunday – 44 Finishers

The seventh running of the Mt Washington Road race featured a close race with the top three separated by 1:42. Angus Wooten took the victory over Roland Cormier and Richard Clapp who were within seven seconds of each other at the summit. The Boston Athletic Association and the North Medford Club (NMC) again dominated the results with 22 of the 44 runners being members of the two teams. BAA combined for a time of 6:36:40 to NMC’s 6:44:38. It would be another nine years before a team other than BAA or NMC would emerge victorious on the mountain.

Nineteen year-old Rick Bayko finished twenty-third. Bayko, a student at Boston State College with personal bests of 4:22 and 9:16 for the mile and two-mile, would later go on to finish as high as thirteenth at the Boston Marathon. He ran a 2:20:56 in 1974. Bayko was the driving force behind the Yankee Runner magazine which covered racing in New England in the late 1970s. Bayko noted in the Hockomock Swamp Rat, that his best race ever was “the 1973 New Bedford 30K run where his fast 1:34:13 defeated a young Will Rodgers.”

Complete results
Place Name Club Time
1 Angus Wooten 1:12:43
2 Roland Cormier Mt Park AC 1:14:18 FW
3 Richard Clapp NMC 1:14:25
4 Peter Stipe BAA 1:16:05
5 Craig Dupree BAA 1:17:47
6 Charles Dyson Hartford TC 1:19:02
7 James Daley Jr. NMC 1:19:34
8 Tom Maynard BAA 1:20:10
9 Stuart Adams BAA 1:20:40
10 Remi Charoux NMC 1:21:08
11 Richard Cordier BAA 1:21:58
12 Kenneth Klatka 1:22:17
13 George Waterhouse NMC 1:23:10
14 Mike Bigelow BAA 1:24:46
15 Don Morton BAA 1:25:31
16 Don Fay BAA 1:26:20
17 Lenny Holmes NMC 1:26:21
18 Ben Chapinski NMC 1:27:04
19 Ralph Grant Waterville AC 1:27:21
20 Roland Dyer Waterville AC 1:27:31
21 John Hurley NMC 1:29:07
22 Ron Gaff 1:31:03
23 Rick Bayko NMC 1:31:45
24 John Jarek Mt Park AC 1:31:53
25 Charles Scott NMC 1:34:23
26 Beattie Mackenzie Ottawa Ski 1:34:38
27 Sigmund Podlozny NMC 1:38:33
28 Robert Page NMC 1:40:41
29 Sam Stallard Viking Ski club 1:41:48
30 Vin Fandetti NMC 1:41:56
31 John Linscott BAA 1:42:24
32 Doug Bourne Mt Royal 1:43:19
33 Alton Chamberlain NMC 1:44:41
34 Bill Lagueux 1:44:44
35 George Leslie NMC 1:46:49
36 Brian Cuerden NMC 1:47:13
37 Ronald Dyer Waterville AC 1:47:34
38 John Philbrick Gorham AC 1:51:08
39 Bob McVeigh BAA 1:51:47
40 James Daley Sr. NMC 1:56:32
41 John Helpern Cambridge Y 2:00:40
42 William Castle NYAC 2:03:46
43 George Lattarulo NMC 2:04:09
44 Stanley Sheldon 2:17:12

From left to right Rick Bayko, Larry Olsen, John J. Kelley, and John Kelley

From left to right Rick Bayko, Larry Olsen, John J. Kelley, and John Kelley

8th Mt Washington Road Race – June 16, 1968 – Sunday – 69 Finishers
A large field assembled as 70 athletes from 22 states lined up for the climb. Twenty six-year- old world-class skier Mike Gallagher from Killington Vermont was victorious in his first attempt. Gallagher a two-time Olympic cross-country skier was closely followed by Art Coolidge. The race was sponsored by the Auto Road and officiated by Jock Semple who was the chair of the New England Amateur Athletic Association and coach and trainer for the Boston Athletic Association. The first two finishers ran the second and third fastest times in the races eight-year history. Angus Wooten the 1967 champion finished seventh 20 seconds ahead of one of the pre-race favorites, Richard Clapp who ran two minutes slower than in the previous year. The BAA and the North Medford Club (NMC) were close in the team scoring with NMC 27 points to BAA’s 31. The club’s combined top five times were 6:43:33 for NMC and 6:45:41 for BAA. NMC had a huge contingent of 23 runners finish the race.

On the same day 20,000 spectators turned out in Loudon, NH for the national motorcycle championships.

Complete results
Place Name Club Time
1 Mike Gallagher Spartan AC 1:06:13
2 Art Coolidge BAA 1:06:39
3 Ken Ingles 1:12:34
4 Leo Duarte 1:12:38
5 Peter Stipe BAA 1:13:08
6 Dick Rowley Millrose AC 1:14:02
7 Angus Wooten 1:15:50 FW
8 Richard Clapp NMC 1:16:10
9 Stephen Smith NMC 1:18:38
10 Russ Holt NMC 1:19:42
11 T Maynard BAA 1:21:15
12 Neil Welgandt SJTC 1:21:26
13 Ken Borches 1:21:54
14 Floyde Wilson WAC 1:22:17
15 S Adams BAA 1:22:20
16 George Waterhouse NMC 1:22:30
17 M Bigelow BAA 1:23:38
18 Ralph Grant WAC 1:24:59
19 Dick Packard BAA 1:25:20
20 Pete Sifalis 1:25:34
21 B Chipinski NMC 1:26:33
22 Larry LaCroix NMC 1:26:59
23 David Reese 1:27:00
Place Name Club Time
24 Tom Derderian NMC 1:27:48
25 Tommy Vannah NMC 1:28:12
26 Vin Fandetti NMC 1:28:28
27 Bill Ginns SAC 1:28:57
28 John Wallace BAA 1:29:04
29 Peter David SAC 1:29:40
30 Donald Fay BAA 1:30:02
31 Charlie Scott NMC 1:30:23
32 Tony Sapienza BAA 1:30:33
33 Winston Thommas WAC 1:30:50
34 William Cracner 1:31:14
35 Bill Warburton NMC 1:31:21
36 Norm Pelletier Metro AC 1:31:38
37 Paul Schell NMC 1:31:41
38 Lloyd Slocum 1:32:04
39 Bob Hersey NMC 1:32:22
40 Bob Weiler 1:32:55
41 Wayne Thompson Salem AC 1:33:40
42 Bill McKenzie 1:34:14
43 Alan Joseph Lynn AC 1:34:58
44 Rick Jankowski Lynn AC 1:34:59
45 Sig Podlozny NMC 1:38:33
46 William Carter Rochester TC 1:39:14
47 Richard Mosley NMC 1:39:42
48 George Latterulo NMC 1:40:19
49 Roland Dyer WAC 1:40:32
50 Mike Dohrendorf WAC 1:41:09
51 Ed Knowlton Lynn AC 1:42:49
52 Roland Dyer Jr. WAC 1:43:15
53 Mel Olkowski 1:43:28
54 D Hogan BAA 1:45:00
55 Joe Lennens 1:45:06
56 Joe Bourne 1:45:08
57 William Ingraham Metro AC 1:47:39
58 Dick Crodier BAA 1:48:10
59 John Proctor 1:48:19
60 Dave Hasenfus NMC 1:48:49
61 Sam Ouellette NMC 1:50:00
62 Tom Gordon Lynn AC 1:53:32
63 Bob Seaman BAA 1:55:25
64 Kevin MacDonald NMC 1:55:53
65 William LaCaqueux NMC 1:56:48
66 Philip McGraw NMC 2:00:58
Place Name Club Time
67 Bob Halpin 2:03:59
68 Chico Simone NMC 2:10:15
69 Frank Cook 2:25:45
70 Johnny Jarek NMC DNF

Mike Gallagher 3 Time US Olympian

Mike Gallagher 3 Time US Olympian

9th Mt Washington Road Race – June 15, 1969 – Sunday – 83 Finishers.

Mike Gallagher took his second straight victory on a rainy, foggy day. Gallagher, who represented the US in three Olympics and three World Championships in cross-country skiing, took the win over teammate Leo Duarte of the Spartan Athletic Club. Gallagher’s time was only eight seconds shy of his winning time the year before. At the time he held two of the top three times.

In the how “little things change department”: An article in the Union Leader noted that Manager Dick Williams promised to shake up the lineup after the “Boston Red Sox were humiliated in three straight weekend losses to Oakland”.

The only results available were for the top five out of a record field of 83.

Potpourri for 1969: The US President was Richard Nixon. The federal debt was $365 billion. The median household income was $8,389.00 and the cost of a new home was $27,900. A gallon of gas cost $.35 and a gallon of milk was $1.10.

Place Name Club Time Age City & State
1 Mike Gallagher Spartan AC 1:06:44 27 VT
2 Leo Duarte Spartan AC
3 Al Meehan Stanford, CT
4 Malcolm Hunter Ottawa, CAN
5 Charlie McGuire Spartan AC