Only One Hill – Chapter 3 – The 1970’s

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.

10th Mt Washington Road race
June 14, 1970
75 Finishers

Vermont’s Mike Gallagher took an unprecedented third straight victory with a nearly two minute decision over Lou Coppens of the Pennsylvania Athletic Club. Gallagher took the lead at the start and passed through two miles in 14:02. He moved farther ahead and clocked 31:35 at four miles. His final margin of victory was 54 seconds.

For the first time the BAA and NMC had another team to battle against as Cambridge Sports Union (CSU) of Massachusetts fielded a team. The BAA came out on top with a 6:42:07 to NMC’s 6:50:54 and CSU’s 7:05:58. CSU was a relative newcomer to the scene, having been formed eight years earlier by Sara Mae and Larry Berman.

Weather conditions for the race were good with 72 degrees at the base and 41 at the summit for the 78 starters. There were 75 finishers and “many unofficial starters”. The race was managed by Jock Semple, John Canney, and Fred Brown, Sr. Trophies were given to the top ten and medals to the top 30, all finishers received a certificate.

Rick Bayko, a fixture in the New England running scene and writer of the popular Yankee Runner Magazine, noted, “I’d staggered to the top in my usual crappy Mount Washington performance. Since space was limited, I thought I’d do the noble thing and give up my seat for the ride down while I jogged it. I couldn’t believe how easy it felt, and gradually I picked up the pace and was at a full run for the last four miles. It began to get a bit uncomfortable on the drive home, and by that night it felt like I’d jammed my femur three inches up into my butt. I couldn’t walk right or sit comfortably for the next four or five days”.

Top 25 Finishers
Place Name Club Time
1 Mike Gallagher Spartan AC 1:09:06
2 Lou Coppens Penn AC 1:10:00
3 Larry Damon BAA 1:11:31
4 Roland Cormier NMC 1:12:12 FW
5 Ralph Thomas Waterville AC 1:13:30
6 Michael Canty Spartan AC 1:16:14
7 Daniel Penzer CSU 1:16:31
8 Tom Dowling BAA 1:16:47
9 Thomas Knatt NMC 1:16:48
10 Ed Ayres 1:17:01
11 Neil Weygandt SJTC 1:09:28
12 Louis Paul CSU 1:21:32
13 William McNulty BAA 1:22:29
14 Emilio Rotondi NMC 1:22:43
15 Peter Davis Spartan AC 1:23:44
16 Glen Ayres 1:24:04
17 Roland Dyer Waterville AC 1:24:22
18 Robert Sullivan BAA 1:24:41
19 William Lutz 1:25:32
20 Clair Paine Salem SC 1:25:51
21 George Waterhouse NMC 1:26:12
22 Ken Dawson BAA 1:26:39
23 Don Perkins 1:27:00
24 Rick Bayko NMC 1:27:14
25 John Kelso CSU 1:27:21

11th Mt Washington Road Race
June 13, 1971
112 Finishers

It was 85 degrees at the base and 46 at the summit as record 129 starters and 112 finishers took to the auto road. Mike Gallagher became the first four-time winner as he bested an excellent field. Gallagher passed the halfway house in 31:13 and continued on to a 51 second victory over Amby Burfoot. Burfoot, who would go on to finish 10th in the 1976 Olympic trials in 2:18, passed Malcolm Hunter in the second half of the race to finish second. He also became only the tenth runner to finish under 1:10.

Although team results were not given, using the top five finishers combined time from each club, the NMC took first among teams with a combined time of 6:25:52 to the Turtletown’s 6:59:09. The BAA was third in 7:10:16.

Top 25 Finishers
Place Name Club Time
1 Mike Gallagher Spartan AC 1:07:27
2 Amby Burfoot CCAA 1:08:18
3 Malcolm Hunter 1:10:32
4 Roland Cormier NMC 1:10:47 FW
5 Al Meehan Strafford Spartans 1:11:21
6 Charles Keating NMC 1:12:11
7 Ralph Thomas 1:13:07
8 Larry Damon BAA 1:13:55
9 Neil Coville McGill Univ. 1:16:12
10 David Senechalle St Anthony’s 1:16:26
11 Chet Fortier NMC 1:16:46
12 Wayne Lucas 1:17:07
13 Richard Lemay MRFA 1:18:41
14 Michael Sudlow MRFA 1:19:27
Place Name Club Time
15 Ian Fairgrieve 1:19:58
16 Richard Fahey 1:20:05
17 Thomas Doyle Lynn AC 1:20:16
18 Jay Sidman CSU 1:20:49
19 Michael Canty Spartan AC 1:21:02
20 Neil Ackley Turtletown 1:21:21
21 David Ethridge Turtletown 1:21:26
22 Leonard Hall No. Country AC 1:22:27
23 Earl McGilvery NMC 1:22:47
24 William McNulty BAA 1:23:14
25 Mark Haggerty NMC 1:23:21
Len Hall of the North County AC

12th Mt Washington Road Race
June 18, 1972
117 Finishers

A record 126 starters and 117 finishers completed the journey from the base where temperatures were 74 degrees, to the summit where it was 30 degrees cooler. Tom Derderian, a sub-2:20 marathoner, led at the half. Derderian was passed by Ralph Thomas, who had finished seventh the previous year, who then led through seven miles. Roland Cormier, who had finished fourth in 1970, overtook Thomas and pulled away to win by 21 seconds. This was the second closest finish in the twelve-year history of the race, trailing only Leo Carroll’s 17-second margin of victory in 1966.

Charlotte Lettis, who among her many accomplishments won four New England Amateur Athletic Union Cross-Country championships, became the first official women’s finisher. Lettis, age 22, finished 84th overall, 12 minutes ahead of the only other women’s finisher, Jennifer Taylor of the Cambridge Sports Union.

Team scoring was calculated cross-country style with the first three finishers scoring. NMC beat CSU 8 points to 19 and Turtletown and BAA followed them with 29 points each. If scored with top five times (as is currently done) NMC would have won in 6:27:33 with Turtletown moving into second with 6:37:32 followed by CSU in 6:42:16. Fred Brown and Jock Semple directed the race. The average time for men was 1:32:39 and for women it was 1:46:10.

Fourth place finisher Peter Crisci reminisced about the “Spartan reception we received…suffice to say the baloney sandwich and stale donuts eaten at the finish were not the only old school aspects of the race”. He recalled “running a hard 15K in Whitman MA the night before and then hitchhiked to NH to meet up with Tom Derderian, Charlotte Lettis, and Mike McCusker. After a sleepless night in a mosquito infested tent we stumbled out to the race”.

A New England Runner’s Magazine profile of Charlotte Lettis noted she was “In a class by herself…she consistently runs six minutes per mile for road races 6 to 10 miles. She won the women’s New England XC title in 71 and regional title in 72.” In 1972 she “broke off to form her own club the Sugarloaf Mountain AC.” A UMass Junior, she trained “anywhere from 30 to 80 miles per week…on the roads and woods around Amherst.” She notes “but mostly my friends and I run in the hills.” In December 1971 she married Tom Derderian. They became the first married couple to finish the Mt Washington road race.

Dederian’s account of the race in an article titled “To the top of New England” includes a view of racing in the pre-running boom days. Derderian took the lead shortly after the cannon fired and “didn’t doubt that I was going to run the 8 miles to the top faster than anyone else in the field. I mean, I always beat Roland Cormier, whose back I haven’t seen in years.” He continues, “I remember four years ago, running the dirt road for the first time. George Waterhouse, weighing in at a half-century, tick-tocked past me…this is not going to happen again. No old geezers are going past me today.” He was running strong despite winning the New England AAU marathon a week ago and the Acton four mile two days ago. After five miles he ran into fog and sleet. “I’m freezing cold, so I try to run harder to warm up. I can’t.” As Ralph Thomas catches him “There’s nothing I can do. I haven’t the strength to elbow him into the gray abyss.” Derderian finishes fifth and says, “My eyes can’t really tell that I’m on top of New England. The mountain tells me, as I sit in the rain, wind and fog and watch gray turn to black and then into runners. A bit of each one has worn off on the mountain.” This was the first mention of a cannon being used to start the runners, which is the now traditional method used to send the masses on the way.

Top 25 Finishers
Place Name Club Time Age
1 Roland Cormier NMC 1:09:16 31
2 Ralph Thomas Maine 1:09:37
3 Max White BAA 1:10:42
4 Peter Crisci NMC 1:10:05
5 Tom Derderian NMC 1:11:53 22
6 Dan Penzer CSU 1:12:02
7 Al Neegab Stratford Spartans 1:12:13
8 Neil Miner 1:12:15
9 Jay Sidman CSU 1:12:41
10 Mike McCusker UMass 1:14:31 18
11 John Savoie Turtletown AC 1:14:38
12 Jeff Sanborn Augusta Rec 1:14:45
13 George Tuthill CSU 1:16:08
14 Chris Stockdale 1:16:37
15 Leonard Hall NCAC 1:16:45
16 John Hurley NMC 1:17:06
17 Dan Larson Strafford Spartans 1:17:37
18 Walter Chatwick Turtletown AC 1:17:40
19 Peter Hanrahan Keene State 1:18:13
20 John Connolly BAA 1:18:50
21 Ronald Stafford NCAC 1:19:24
22 Mike Sudlow MRFA 1:19:42
23 George Reed 1:19:47
24 Dave Ethridge Turtletown 1:19:50
25 Wayne Lucas 1:19:52

Women Finishers
1 Charlotte Lettis 1:40:08 Course Record
2 Jennifer Taylor CSU 1:52:13

13th Mt Washington Road Race
June 17, 1973
183 Finishers

John Cederholm took first over Ralph Thomas and Raymond Currier. This marked the first time that three runners finished under 1:10. Cederholm had finished 34th in 2:26 earlier that spring at the BAA Marathon. He was a member of the BAA from 1972 and went on to become president of the BAA from 1977 – 1980. Among his many accomplishments was a victory at the National 50K championships in 1979 where he set a US record of 2:56:43. Cederholm would go on to finish 23 Mt Washington road races between 1973 and 2003 and place in the top 10 five times. He also showed incredible durability, when in the 2003 Mt Washington Road Race he ran the seventh fastest time for a 60+ runner. In the late Seventies he noted in a New England Runner’s article, “I joined the BAA, because I wanted to be affiliated with a team. There were good runners on the team, Bill Rodgers and Ed Norris. Jock Semple from BAA and Graham Parnell head of Spartan AC began scouting me for their clubs. I was turned off by their fighting over me.”

Other finishers included 1972 winner Roland Cormier who took sixth place. Long-time Mt Washington runner Keith Woodward finished fifth in his debut. Lise Demars was the women’s winner, and the only recorded female finisher, in 1:51:46. NMC took the team title with a time of 6:19:26 followed by VTC in 6:31:13 and BAA with 6:49:49.

Top 25 Finishers
Place Name Club Time
1 John Cederholm 1:08:26
2 Ralph Thomas ARTC 1:09:36
3 Ray Currier TTAC 1:09:46
4 Max White BAA 1:10:56
5 Keith Woodward 1:11:17 FW
6 Roland Cormier NMC 1:11:32 FW
7 David Quinn VTRR 1:11:57
8 Al Meehan SSTC 1:12:42
9 Ed Norris BAA 1:13:00
10 Pete Gleason 1:13:43
11 George Reed 1:13:48
12 MW Hunter OSC 1:13:57
13 Don Putnam 1:14:30
14 Don Quinn TTAC 1:14:36
15 George Tuthill CSU 1:14:44
16 Andrea Tchoukarine 1:15:00
17 Chet Fortier NMC 1:15:38
18 Dave Ethridge 1:16:00
19 Phil Ryan BAA 1:16:10
Place Name Club Time
20 Gary Burfoot MSTC 1:16:24
21 Tom Knatt NMC 1:16:49
22 Scott Mackenzie WP 1:16:54
23 Chuck Riley CSU 1:16:57
24 Rick Chouinard 1:17:07
25 Bill Juall BCTC 1:17:19
79 Angus Wooten 1:30:30 FW

Women Finishers
164 Lise Demars 1:51:51
Keith Woodward

14th Mt Washington Road Race
June 16, 1974
210 Finishers

A record 228 starters almost doubled the size of the filed. Most runners had to find their own way down from the summit, as very few cars were able to make it to the top. A steady rain fell throughout the day and at the top dense fog and pouring rain hit the finishers. Most cars were stopped at halfway due to the muddy unsafe condition of the road. The weather, always a factor, featured 60 mph winds and a wind-chill of 10 degrees. Three women were listed among the starters however the results do not clearly indicate if any finished.

Ray Currier led past 2 miles with Jim Capezzuto and 1973 winner John Cederholm tucked behind. Gloria Ratti, one of the race timers noted, “We could not see the complexion of the race, inasmuch as we had to try to get to the top as quickly as possible and get by the stranded and abandoned cars.” Capezzuto took the lead near the halfway and held on. He noted that he did no special training and that “the wind and muddy road conditions bothered me somewhat, but I was most disappointed of not being able to enjoy the view on my first trip to the summit.” Capezzuto, who would go on to win the 1975 New England AAU cross-country championship, took the victory by 1:30 over Tom Derderian.

Others in the field included 18-year-old Bob Hodge making his first appearance, finishing 14th in 1:15:46. Eleventh place finisher Gaetan Breton has finished 26 times between 1973 and 2004.

Team scores were not given however; NMC and BAA waged a close battle with NMC coming out on top with a time of 6:33:01 to BAA’s 6:33:30. This was the closest team finish to date.

Top 25 finishers
Place Name Club Time Age
1 Jim Capezzuto BAA 1:07:58 20
2 Tom Derderian SLAC 1:09:28 24
3 Tim Smith Mohegan 1:09:42
4 Ray Currier 1:11:23 28
5 Ralph Thomas 1:11:37
6 John Cederholm BAA 1:12:54 31 FW
7 Sam Winebaum NMC 1:13:24
8 John Estle NCAC 1:13:35
9 Dean Perry Bethel Bananas 1:14:34
10 Ron Stafford NCAC 1:14:44
11 Gaetan Breton 1:14:47 26
12 Richard Chauxnard U of Laval 1:15:02
13 Bennett Beech Washington SC 1:15:37
14 Bob Hodge NMC 1:15:42 18 FW
15 Gary Wallace Triple Cities TC 1:15:46
Place Name Club Time Age
16 Chet Fortier NMC 1:16:13
17 Pierre Cote 1:16:14
18 Ken Foote 1:16:17
19 John Pfeil Buffalo TC 1:16:58
20 Bradon Gothard Buffalo TC 1:17:05
21 Clifford Connor Millrose AA 1:18:10
22 John Garlepp Millrose AA 1:18:39
23 Paul Fahey Wakefield TC 1:18:46
24 Jeff White 1:19:26
25 Randy Phillips LRTC 1:19:29
Jim Capezzuto

15th Mt Washington Road Race
June 22, 1975
276 Finishers

Gary Johnson of Irasburg Vermont led eight men under 70 minutes in clear conditions. Temperatures were in the 80’s at the base and 50 at the top. Johnson, a cross-country skier, narrowly (2 seconds) edged the 1968 time of fellow skier Mike Gallagher to post the second fastest winning time.

Tom Derderian and John Cederholm finished a close fifth and sixth, the pair tied later that year at the Mt Greylock race. Beating a field, that included Mt Washington champion, Roland Cormier, and top five finisher Peter Crisci. Other notable finishers included 19-year-old Bob Hodge whose 1:10:19 still stands as the second fastest junior (under age 20) time. Fourteenth place finisher John Estle had shown his mountain running ability by taking third place at the Killington Hill run earlier that year. Many of the top finishers at Mt Washington had run the Boston Marathon earlier that year including Derderian (2:19), Rick Bayko (2:21), Ken Mueller (2:22), Ralph Thomas (2:23), Vin Fleming (2:28) and Ray Currier (2:29).

On the ladies’ side, Hester Ford Sargent beat 1972 winner Charlotte Lettis by nearly 15 minutes and broke the course record by nearly nine minutes. She finished 110th in a record field of 276 finishers. According to the Union Leader, “the top women’s finisher was Hester Sargent of Boston, the niece of former Mass. Governor Francis Sargent.” Lettis had won the New York Central park mini-marathon, which at the time was the world’s largest all-women race, in May. Hugh Sweeney’s article about the mini-marathon noted, “Charlotte utilized her 59 second 440 speed to pull away to a course record 35:56 and a 7 second victory in the last 200 yards”. Lettis noted on her training, “I run with (husband) Tom on some of his slower workouts, but he runs 120 miles per week and I do 60 so we usually don’t train together.”

The race was timed by Gloria Ratti, Bob MacVeigh, Bev Whitney, and Fred Brown, Sr. and was also sanctioned by the New England AAU. Team results were unavailable. Multiple time Mt Washington finisher George Waterhouse of the North Medford Club died in September. Yankee runner noted “His ashes were scattered into the wind from the top of Mt. Washington, a place where he often ran good races to the surprise of his fellow runners.”

Top 25 Finishers
Place Name Team Time Age
1 Gary Johnson NCAC 1:06:01
2 Tom Dowling BAA 1:07:15
3 Vin Fleming GBTC 1:07:58 21
4 Joe McNulty 1:08:29
5 Tom Derderian SMAC 1:08:44 26
6 John Cederholm BAA 1:09:07 32 FW
7 Malcolm Hunter LRR 1:09:20
Place Name Team Time Age
8 Dan Penza CSU 1:09:37
9 Bob Hodge LT 1:10:19 19 FW
10 Dean Colprit LRTC 1:11:08
11 Sam Winebaum SS 1:11:18
12 Tony Wilcox SMAC 1:12:01
13 Ralph Thomas 1:12:18
14 John Estle NCAC 1:12:28
15 Shaun O’Connor 1:12:41
16 Bob Fowler 1:12:50
17 Tom Atherton TTAC 1:13:06
18 Gaetan Breton CAPS 1:13:29
19 Phil Kalar SS 1:13:41
20 Gil Kemp MAA 1:13:51
21 Brian Reinhold BRU 1:14:11 21
22 Larry Reed TTAC 1:14:17
23 Wayne Lamothe NMC 1:14:23
24 Bennett Beach 1:14:27
25 John Pfeil LAC 1:14:57

Place Name Team Time Age
110 Hester Sargent 1:31:13 Course Record
202 Charlotte Lettis 1:46:40 FW
242 Carol Aucoin 2:03:54
Lettis in the 1976 Olympic Trials 1500

16th Mt Washington Road Race
June 27, 1976
225 Finishers

Conditions for the race were 80 degrees at the base and 50 at the summit and the race director noted, “The road was the best I have ever seen it, with a new stretch of blacktop.” Two hundred forty eight runners took the starters call, with Bob Hodge gaining his first victory. Hodge’s time was the second fastest, behind only Fred Norris. Hodge also tied as the youngest winner of the race at age 20.

Hodge and third place finisher Vin Fleming had dueled earlier that year in the National AAU 30K championships where they finished seventh and eight in 1:34:03 to 1:34:09 respectively. Bill Rodgers won the race in a World record time of 1:29:04.

Ellie Mendonca representing the CSU won the ladies race finishing 119th overall in 1:35:05. The 5’5” 120 lb. originally from Brazil noted in a New England Runner Magazine article “my mileage is from 60 to 75 or more per week.” She “received an MS in Physical Education and has been involved in athletics for a long period of time.” She had been “running since 1972 and competitively since 1975.” The average time for women toped 1:50 with a 1:50:16 average for women finishers.

Team scoring had Hodge leading the Greater Boston Track Club over the North Country Athletic Club and BAA with a score of 10 points to 17 and 26 respectively. If scored by top five finisher on time (as is done now) the NCAC would prevail with a fine 6:08:41 followed by the BAA (6:30:00) and NMC (6:47:19).

Tenth place finisher Peter Cresci won the Mt Greylock race later that year. John Cederholm continued to finish in the top ten with a ninth place finish. A record eight men finished under 1:10.

Top 25 Finishers
Place Name Club Time Age
1 Robert Hodge GBTC 1:05:31 20
2 Norman Patenaude Laurentian U TC 1:07:29
3 Vin Fleming GBTC 1:07:56 22
4 Gary Johnson NCAC 1:08:54 FW
5 Keith Woodward NCAC 1:10:11 25 FW
6 Tony Wilcox SMAC 1:10:18
7 Tom Dowling BAA 1:10:36
8 Charles Riley GBTC 1:11:29
9 John Cederholm BAA 1:11:52 33 FW
10 Peter Cresci SMAC 1:12:12
11 John Heslin 1:12:33
Place Name Club Time Age
12 Will Winebaum 1:12:45
13 Bill Norris OTC 1:13:01
14 Joe McNulty NCAC 1:13:52
15 Paul Thompson NMC 1:14:57
16 Ken Dawson BAA 1:15:15
17 M Hunter Larigmac RR 1:15:54
18 John Brown 1:16:17
19 Robert Lux 1:16:34
20 Seth Bergman Plausted Harriers 1:17:11
21 John Estle NCAC 1:17:22
22 Mark Berman 1:17:30 18
23 Robert Treadwell 1:17:48
24 Gaetan Breton CAPS 1:17:38 28
25 Martin Kittell Cenleona RC 1:18:01
77 Jim Capezzuto BAA 1:29:03 FW

Women Finishers
Place Name Club Time Age
119 Ellenora Mendonca CSU 1:35:05
222 Sarah Dumas CSU 1:59:39

Hodge duels with Randy Thomas

17th Mt Washington Road Race
June 19, 1977
256 Finishers

Bob Hodge won again, this time in a course record as he sneaked under the old record of 64:57 by Fred Norris in 1962. Hodge beat Ray Currier by over three minutes as he led six men under 1:10. Yankee Runner had only the top 10 listed and lamented that “unfortunately the people with the complete results have decided since the Yankee Runner position regarding the AAU does not agree with their own, that Yankee Runner will no longer receive race results that they are responsible for.”

Ellen Mendonca won for the second straight year, finishing 112th overall. She won by more than 12 minutes over Lisa Powers as 11 women finished. Earlier in the year Mendonca placed ninth at the Bonnie Bell 10K for women in 36:59 and also got seventh at the BAA Marathon in 2:52:49. Lisa Powers lead the Seacoast team to the first verifiable team title in 5:26:16. It is not recorded whether women’s team scoring was done. Jane Goodman became the first woman to be recorded in the 40+ age group.

Team results had North Country AC (NCAC) winning with 12 points over the BAA (24 points) and NMC (33 points). The NCAC’s combined time of 5:59:28 represents the first time a team ran under six hours and still ranks in the top 25 all time. The BAA was second with 6:20:31.

The average time for men was 1:32:56 and for women it was 1:51:51. This was the largest gap recorded between men and women’s average finishing time.

Top 25 Finishers
Place Name Club Time Age
1 Bob Hodge GBTC 1:04:44 21 Course Record
2 Ray Currier BAA 1:07:51 33
3 Keith Woodward NCAC 1:08:15 26 FW
4 Joseph McNulty NCAC 1:08:28
5 James Crawford NYAC 1:08:54
6 Larry Olsen NMC 1:09:33
7 Ed Sandifer SMAC 1:10:30
8 Henry Phelan Keene State 1:11:52
9 Mark Berman 1:12:11 19
10 Joseph Doran NCAC 1:13:02 28
11 Ken Dawson BAA 1:13:40
12 Sean Cummings Keene State 1:13:46
13 Chris Stockdale 1:14:02
14 Breton Gaetan CAPS 1:14:10 29
15 Martin Kittell Cenleona RC 1:14:13
16 James Smith NCAC 1:14:42
Place Name Club Time Age
17 John Estle NCAC 1:15:01
18 Peter Hanrahan NMC 1:15:23
19 Robert Wilson CSU 1:15:36
20 Yvan Bolduc CAPS 1:15:42
21 Joseph Noel ECSC 1:15:50
22 Robert Teschek BAA 1:15:52 31
23 Dana Poole TTAC 1:16:06 18
24 David Duval NMC 1:16:48
25 John Fahey NMC 1:17:05

Women Finishers
Place Name Club Time Age
1 Ellen Mendonca CSU 1:30:05 Course record
2 Lisa Powers Seacoast 1:42:44
3 Jane Goodman 1:45:13 42 Age Group record
4 Paula Davenport Seacoast 1:49:20
5 Jessica Brandt Lucky TC 1:49:35
6 Patricia Nice CSU 1:49:39
7 Nancy Laferriere 1:54:09
8 Dorothy Bergman 1:55:35 45
9 Judy McCrone Seacoast 1:54:12
10 Katherine Kirsch Seacoast 1:57:19
11 Linda Binney 2:00:11

Lisa Power Sugarloaf runners

18th Mt Washington Road Race
June 18, 1978
363 Finishers

Bob Hodge won his third straight with another course record as he beat Keith Woodward of the NCAC by over two minutes. Woodward would eventually finish an incredible 15 times in the top 10 from 1973-1991. The weather was cloudy and windy as 386 started and a record 363 finished. Fred Brown notes in his race recap regarding finisher certificates, “if you didn’t receive yours, contact me at races or at home and you will get it. Just what you need in your old age to prove you were not always helpless.”

Hodge led from the start and stated in Yankee Runner, “Usually at the halfway house the wind picks up and blows you around, but it wasn’t bad this time.” Fred Brown wrote “A new record for Hodges (sic). Who will be the first to break an hour?”

Team scoring had NCAC and GBTC tied with 17 points followed closely by the BAA with 19 and SMAC with 27. The result was a close battle of four teams with 10 minutes, using the top five on time, NCAC ran 6:09:59, GBTC 6:14:07, SMA 6:16:52 and BAA 6:19:16.

Ellie Mendonca won her third straight in a course record of 1:28:39 for 108th overall. Karen Dunn and Linda Schneider closely followed her. Patricia Robinson (1:37:03) was highlighted in New England Running Magazine. She had finished 39th at the 1978 BAA marathon in 3:05:45. She noted “my mileage varies between 65 and 89 miles for 6 weeks before Boston. My average training runs are 6 to 12 miles at 7 – 7:45 pace.” Robinson beat 1977’s runner-up Lisa Powers by just over a minute.

Although no official team results were given for women, the CSU team dominated the women’s scoring with a time of 4:54:21 to SSTC’s 5:18:37.

The first 200 finishers got certificates and according to an anonymous account in Yankee Runner, everyone got “one sandwich (ham/cheese or egg salad) and one Coke back at the base” and “the sandwiches were like this years’ stew at Boston…tasted awful and didn’t fill you up. Does Jock handle the cooking too?” Fred Brown noted the problems faced with timing the event, “As usual we had runners crossing the finish line again after finishing. My mistake was in yelling at them ‘are you finishing’ which they likely took to mean have you finished, hence when they said yes they got recorded again.”

Top 25 Finishers
Place Name Club Time Age
1 Robert Hodge GBTC 1:04:13 22 Course Record
2 Keith Woodward NCAC 1:06:50 27 FW
3 Brian Reinhold 1:07:48 24
4 Walt Chadwick BAA 1:08:55
Place Name Club Time Age
5 Martin Kittell Onteora 1:09:38
6 John Cederholm BAA 1:09:50 35 FW
7 Tony Wilcox SMAC 1:10:16
8 David Ezersky GBTC 1:10:55 21
9 John Savoie 1:11:08
10 William Holland 1:11:34
11 Peter Gamble 1:11:53
12 Hank Pfeifle NCAC 1:12:19 26
13 Joe Doran NCAC 1:12:33 29
14 Jay Smith 1:12:46
15 Samuel Winebaum 1:12:48
16 David Landry Onteora 1:13:16
17 Howie Bean 1:13:43
18 Ed Sandifer SMAC 1:13:51
19 Albert Fereshetian TTAC 1:13:59
20 Mark Berman 1:14:23 20
21 James Durkin GBTC 1:14:30
22 Dana Poole 1:14:33
23 John Chandler 1:15:07
24 Jeff Sanborn 1:15:20
25 Ed Burgess 1:15:33

Top 10 Women
Note: Generally women were not recorded separately from men in the results. I was unable to determine from the information if certain runners were in fact female finishers and noted them with a question mark.

Place Name Club Time
1 Ellie Mendonca CSU 1:28:39 Course Record
2 Karen Dunn 1:29:45
3 Linda Schneider 1:32:57
4 Pat Carroll ? 1:35:08
5 Patricia Robinson CSU 1:37:03
6 Lisa Powers SSTC 1:38:23
7 Joan Tomasi Vermont RR 1:39:35
8 B R Stepp ? 1:41:56
9 Barbara Regan State College 1:42:56
10 Dale Quinlan ? 1:46:28
11 R Gonzales ? YMCA 1:48:27
12 Judith Paine CSU 1:48:39
13 Cheryl Newhouse SSTC 1:50:02
14 Judith McCrone SSTC 1:50:12

Name Place Points
North Country AC 2-7-8 17 points
Greater Boston TC 1-6-10 17 points
Boston AA 3-4-12 19 points
Sugarloaf Mt AC 5-9-13 27 points
No. Medford Club 11-14-15 40 points
Cambridge Sports Union 16-17-18 51 points

19th Mt Washington Road Race
June 17, 1979
Sunday Noon
403 Finishers

Bob Hodge, who finished third earlier in the year at the BAA marathon (2:12), won a record tying fourth straight as he set his third course record. Hodge beat future Olympian Peter Pfitzinger (Pfitz) by just over two minutes as Pfitzinger ran the fastest non-winning time. A record 11 runners finished under 1:10.

There was a drenching downpour just before the start, but conditions were good during the race. Hodge blazed to the halfway house in 28:15 with Pfitz next in 29:40 followed by Phelan and Capezzuto in 30:00. Cross-country skier Don Nelson overtook the 1974 winner, Capezzuto, during the second half of the race. Hodge was regarded with awe in New England Running Magazine “Just after crossing the finish line Bobby’s pulse rate was 126. ‘Boy, I must be getting out of shape’ he averred in all seriousness.”

The ladies’ race was just as excellent as cross-country ski ace Martha Rockwell cracked the top 50 overall in 1:19:14. Her time broke the course record by nearly 10 minutes. Rockwell dominated the field, beating CSU’s Patricia Robinson by nearly 13 minutes. New England Running magazine noted, “Mt Washington was only Martha’s second race, and she does not as yet train on a regular basis.” Rockwell was on the US Olympic team in 1972 and 1976 and won 18 National Championships in Nordic skiing.

Five hundred and four runners entered including 117 post entries, 427 started with 403 finishing. Fred Brown said “national Geographic had a man covering the event so maybe in the future they will have an article on it.” The women’s field made up a record 12.41% of finishers, the first time they topped ten percent.

Team scoring was not listed however; the GBTC lead by Hodge and Pfitz ran 5:35:50 beating the BAA by 12 minutes. This was the first time two clubs broke six hours. CSU scored a victory for the women with a 5:15:18 to the Manchester Y’s 5:45:40

John Cederholm finished 11th, breaking 1:10. He would, later in the year, win the 50,000-meter National championships in 2:56:43, a national record. Seventeen year-old Mike Casner ran his first Mt Washington in 1:25:28. He would go on to finish 14 times in the top ten from 1984 through 2001. Long time Mt Washington runner Fred Ross organized a race up Mt Equinox, which would become a favorite tune-up for runners preparing for Mt Washington. It was first run on May 20, 1979, and was won that year by Keith Woodward who took the 5.25 mile 3,150 foot climb by eight seconds over John Arthur.

Top 25 Finishers
Place Name Club Time Age
1 Robert Hodge GBTC 1:02:08 23 Course Record
2 Peter Pfitzinger GBTC 1:04:12 21
3 Henry Phelan BAA 1:05:03
4 Donald Nelson Strafford AA 1:06:29
5 James Capezzuto BAA 1:06:58 25 FW
6 Tom Dowling BAA 1:07:10
7 Mark Berman 1:07:39 21
8 Brian Reinhold 1:08:13 25
9 Duncan Scott GBTC 1:08:42
10 Tom Derderian GBTC 1:09:22 29
11 John Cederholm BAA 1:09:44 36 FW
12 Jim Fredericks Craftsbury 1:11:04
13 Richard Bonner GBTC 1:11:25
14 Brad Hurst GBTC 1:11:29 25
15 Dave Ezersky GBTC 1:11:35 22
16 Stephen Lavorgna 1:11:45
17 Neil Blayney NZL 1:11:49
18 Edward Strabel N Carolina TC 1:12:01
19 Keith Woodward NCAC 1:12:30 28 FW
20 Leonard Hall NCAC 1:12:31
21 Peter Cruise SMAC 1:13:05
22 John Estle NCAC 1:13:28
23 Chuck Riley GBTC 1:13:51
24 Joseph Doran NCAC 1:14:19 30
25 William Holland 1:14:25

Top 10 Women
Place Name Club Time Age
1 Martha Rockwell 1:19:14 35 Record
2 Patricia Robinson CSU 1:32:00 26
3 Ruby Weiner Wolfpack 1:35:03
4 Liz Carey NCAC 1:36:17
5 Chris Kelley ? 1:36:50
6 Sue Medaglia 1:37:07
7 Laurie Munson 1:37:41
8 Chris Anderson ? 1:38:30
Place Name Club Time Age
9 Abbi Fisher US Ski Team 1:39:08
10 Dale Norton ? 1:41:06
11 Linda Holton 1:41:11
12 Raphael Linehan Strafford AA 1:41:14
13 Blanche Paine NMC 1:41:44

Hodge duels with Randy Thomas

A Sugarloaf AC finisher (left) and Hodge duels with Randy Thomas a week before Mt Washington (Right)

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