Announcement from the Mt. Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center.
- 5 time winner Joseph Gray returning to defend title.
- Kim Dobson, 6 time winner, returns to defend title.
- 7.6 miles with 4300′ of ascent. Only one hill!
- Race day is Saturday, June 18, 2022.
The 61st running of the Delta Dental Mount Washington Auto Road Race is two short months away, and the returning champions, Kim Dobson and Joseph Gray, are returning to defend their titles. Kim Dobson, 38 of Eagle, Colo., has won all six times she has entered and is the overwhelming favorite to take home a seventh title this year. Joseph Gray, also 38 of Colorado Springs, Colo., has won the race the last five times he has run it and is looking for a sixth win this year. He has also won the 2016 and 2019 editions of the World Mountain Running Championships in the past six years as well. He was also named the Greatest of all Time (GOAT) by the World Mountain Running Association. All eyes will be on the champ as the field tries to take him down.
Gray will have a veritable laundry list of contenders this year. Starting with last year’s runner up, Eric Blake (pictured top of page. Photo: Joe Viger). Blake, the ageless 43-year-old from West Hartford, Conn., has finished in the top three fourteen times and has won four times. We are eager to see if he can make it five this year. 2019 USATF Half Marathon Trail champion Lee Berube, 31 of Syracuse, NY, has finished third the last two years and keeps getting better. Also returning from last year is the fourth-place finisher, Samuel Fazioli, 30 of Derry, N.H. If Fazioli doesn’t win outright, he is the favorite to take home the Crossan Cup awarded to the top NH male and female runners.
In addition to the returning contenders, we have four elite runners making debuts at Mount Washington. For whatever reason, maybe a lack of knowledge of what is in front of them, debut runners often have success. New to Mount Washington this year are 27-year-old Thomas Echelberger from Colchester, VT, Mason Coppi, 24 of Syracuse, N.Y., Everett Hackett, 32 of Hartford, Conn., and Adrian Macdonald, 33 of Fort Collins, Colo. Echelberger is a member of the National Guard Elite Biathlon team. We have often seen Nordic skiing athletes do quite well at Mount Washington. Coppi was a four year All Southern Conference cross country runner and has speed. Since college he has taken up trail racing and done well with first place finishes at the Swain Mountain Trail Race and the Black Diamond Express Trail Half Marathon in which he set a course record. Hackett is a two-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, has a best time of 2:18:56, and just finished 50th overall at the 2022 Boston Marathon. Macdonald has an impressive resume with two wins at the Mount Evans Ascent in Colorado, and he is also the reigning champion of the famous Leadville 100 trail race. All these guys can obviously run, but how does it translate to 7.6 miles of 12%-22% grade?
On the women’s side, Dobson has been so dominant over the past decade, it is hard to imagine her losing. With last year’s second, third, and fourth place finishers not returning, her chances are looking really good. However, the fifth-place finisher from 2021, Ashley Busa, 37 of Portsmouth, N.H., is back and looking to improve. 2016 US Mountain Running Team member Kim Nedeau, 42 of Leverett, Mass., is healthy. When healthy, Nedeau has always been in contention. She missed a win in 2019 by only thirty one seconds. Battling injury in 2021, Nedeau still took 6th place in a very strong field. During her injury recovery, she took up ElliptiGo training to maintain her endurance base. While she was at it she won the ElliptiGo World Championship in 2021 with the 3rd fastest time ever, a time seven minutes faster than Molly Seidel, the 2020 Olympic Marathon Bronze Medalist and winner of the 2020 ElliptiGo World Championship.
New to Mount Washington in 2022 are two newcomers; Alex Lawson, 23 of Burke, Vt., and Anna Mae Flynn, 32 of Lake Tahoe, Calif. Lawson, was an All-America Nordic skier at Middlebury College and has been selected twice to the Under 23 United States World Championship Team. She recently won the Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race in Huntington, Vt., showing that she can run as well as she can ski. Flynn is a two time winner of the Speedgoat 50km race in the mountains outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. The race includes more than fourteen thousand feet of climbing! Flynn also has finished 2nd at Pikes Peak Ascent. Ironically, Kim Dobson owns the course record at the Pikes Peak Ascent.
Sponsored by Delta Dental, the race ascends the Mt. Washington Auto Road from Pinkham Notch, N.H., to the 6288-foot summit of Mt. Washington. In addition to the unrelenting grade, runners face the added challenge of Mt. Washington’s famously high winds, precipitation, and unpredictable temperatures. These variables can lead to unexpected results. Prizes include $1000 apiece for the first male and female finishers, smaller cash prizes for the next five men and women and the top three male and female masters (over 40), prizes for the first male and female finishers from New Hampshire, and a $5000 bonus for setting a new course record.