Blake returns to the top and at 45, Haefeli finally wins the Run to the Clouds!

Pinkham Notch, N.H. June 15, 2013

New England’s strongest mountain runner, Eric Blake of New Britain, Conn., faced his best counterparts from the Rocky Mountains and the West Coast today and beat them to reclaim the champion’s title in the Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race.  Blake, who won this 7.6-mile all-uphill race in 2006 and 2008, came back this year from four years of near misses to run up the Mt. Washington Auto Road in his fastest time ever, 59 minutes 57 seconds.

Meanwhile on the women’s side of the race, veteran mountain runner Laura Haefeli of Del Norte, Colo., finally won the internationally renowned event where she had repeatedly been a popular bridesmaid. Having finished third three times and among the top six women two other times in this climb to the 6288-foot summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States, Haefeli, now 45 years old, took an early lead and held it, taking advantage of an occasional tailwind and finishing in 1:18:05, more than five minutes ahead of her nearest competition.

Blake’s win was emphatic and gratifying. The 34-year-old coach at Central Connecticut State lined up at the start with the two men who had beaten him last year and seemed in comparably good shape this time, Joseph Gray, 29, of Renton, Washington, and Sage Canaday, 27, from Boulder, Colorado. A year ago Canaday had run away from the field to become just the sixth man ever to break one hour on Mt. Washington, while Gray was a solid second, but this time the field was reversed.

Gray, a former all-American steeplechaser with track speed to go with his mountain endurance, seized the lead at the start, opened a gap on everyone else and held it for three miles while Blake and Canaday chased him. Then Blake surged while Canaday faded.

“Maybe Joe was going to run away with it, or maybe he was going to come back to us,” said Blake afterward. “When I caught up with Joe, I just concentrated on maintaining momentum. I had seen enough second-place frustration, and I didn’t want to be second again.”

After his two previous victories, Blake had been runner-up twice here, then eighth in 2011, when he was suffering from a not-yet-diagnosed torn hamstring muscle that required surgery. Having regained enough form to place third last year, he looked even stronger today.

Half a mile from the finish he was pumping his fist with the confidence of someone who knows he will win. Better yet, he realized he had a shot at the one-hour mark that had always eluded him before.

“I had thought I’d finish in 61 minutes,” he said, “but I was going as quickly as I could.” Quickly enough so that, on top of the winner’s purse of $1000, his finishing time earned him the $500 bonus the race awards to anyone who breaks one hour without breaking the course record. The men’s course record for the Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race is 56:42, set in 2004 by six-time world mountain champion Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand.

Haefeli, who five years ago broke the Mt. Washington masters (over 40) record previously held by Olympian Joan Samuelson, again collected the $300 award for the first female finisher over 40, to go along with her overall winner’s $1000. The men’s masters prize went once again to Simon Gutierrez, 47, of Colorado Springs. Gutierrez, who won this race three times between 2002 and 2005 and holds the master’s course record, placed fourth overall in 1:04:44, outkicking 38-year-old Matt Byrne of Scranton, Pennsylvania by one second.

The next woman behind Haefeli was a smiling Brandy Erholtz, of Evergreen, Colo. Erholtz, 35, had won her Mt. Washington debut here in 2008, repeated as champion in 2009, and then been third in 2010 and runner-up for the past two years. For her, however, this year’s runner-up performance was especially delightful. She is four months’ pregnant – a fact about which she has happily posted a narrative on her training blog.

Undeniably slower this year, Erholtz was still tough. Starting conservatively, she passed Regina Loicano of Gloucester, Mass., and Tin-Marie Poulin of New York City in the first mile, then withstood a determined challenge by Loicano for several miles before finishing in 1:23:48, with Loicano third in 1:24:45 and Poulin another half minute back. Abby Mahoney, 35, of Holyoke, Mass., was fifth in 1:25:49.

Justin Freeman, 36, of New Hampton, N.H., an Olympic Nordic skier and local favorite, placed eighth overall in 1:06:52 to win the Crossan Cup, which is awarded annually to the top finisher from New Hampshire. The women’s Crossan Cup winner was Larisa Dannis of Manchester, who placed seventh among all women in 1:26:59.

Top finishers:

Men:

1.  Eric Blake, 34, New Britain, Conn., 59:57
2.  Joseph Gray, 29, Renton, Wash., 1:02:46
3.  Sage Canaday, 27, Boulder, Colo., 1:03:39
4.  Simon Gutierrez, 47, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1:04:44
5.  Matthew Byrne, 38, Scranton, Pa., 1:04:45
6.  Josh Ferenc, 31, Saxtons River, Vt., 1J5:36
7.  Gabriel Rodriguez, 35, Baltimore, Md., 1:06:37
8.  Justin Freeman, 36, New Hampton, N.H., 1:06:52
9.  P:eter Maksimow, 34, Manitou Springs, Colo., 1:07:26
10.  Eric MacKnight, 24, Clifton Park, N.J., 1:07:37

Women:

1.  Laura Haefeli, 45, Del Norte, Colo., 1:18:05
2.  Brandy Erholtz, 35, Evergreen, Colo., 1:23:48
3.  Regina Loicano, 40, Gloucester, Mass., 1:24:45
4.  Tina-Marie Poulin, 40, New York, N.Y., 1:25:17
5.  Abby Mahoney, 35, Holyoke, Mass., 1:25:49
6.  Layce Alves, 33, Rockport, Mass., 1:26:33
7.  Larisa Dannis, 25, Manchester, N.H., 1:26:59
8.  Dawn Roberts, 41, West Springfield, Mass., 1:27:28
9.  Suzy West, 50, Putney, Vt., 1:28:22
10. Jennifer Brooks, 34, Gloucester, Mass., 1:28:27

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1,300 runners, 34 states, 7.6 miles all uphill

PINKHAM NOTCH, N.H. – This Saturday the Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race will welcome 1300 runners from 34 states plus the District of Columbia and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec for the annual 7.6-mile footrace to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States. The race course, the Mt. Washington Auto Road, ascends from Route 16 to the 6288-foot summit of Mt. Washington at an average grade of 12 percent, with the additional challenge of the mountain’s notorious weather, which can include drastic temperature drops and high winds. Starting time is 9 a.m.

On Friday evening from 5-7 p.m. the race presents its annual pre-race program, which includes a pasta supper, a talk about the race, and the induction of new members into the Mt. Washington Road Race Hall of Fame. The dinner and talk take place at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road.

The Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race is one of the premier footraces in New England. It is also one of the most difficult mountain races anywhere in the world. The winners’ first prize is $1,000, with a bonus of $5,000 for anyone who breaks the course record. The men’s course record, set in 2004 by World Mountain Champion Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand, is 00:56:41. The women’s record, set by Ethiopian runner Shewarge Amare in 2010, is 1:08:21.

Northeast Delta Dental administers dental insurance programs in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. To learn more about Northeast Delta Dental, visit www.nedelta.com and follow Northeast Delta Dental on Facebook and Twitter.

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Returing to the rockpile: Sage Canaday talks about defending his title at Mt. Washington

Follow link for the article on FarNorthEndurance.com

Sage Canaday, of Boulder, Colorado, races above treeline, during the 52nd running of The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race, held in Pinkham Notch, NH, on June 16th, 2012. 1,200 runners raced up the 7.6 mile Mount Washington Auto Road, to t

Sage Canaday on his way to winning the 2012 Mount Washington Road Race.
Photo courtesy of Dennis Coughlin.

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Defending champion Sage Canaday leads men’s field; Erholtz may be top woman

PINKHAM NOTCH, N.H. – Top mountain runners from New England, the Rockies, and the West Coast lead the field this year in the 53rd Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race. On June 15 they’ll make their way 7.6 miles up the relentlessly steep Mt. Washington Auto Road to the summit of Mt. Washington, at 6288 feet above sea level the highest peak in the Northeast. Starting time is 9 a.m.

A year ago, observers at this historic and grueling race did a double-take when newcomer Sage Canaday of Boulder, Colo., took an early lead and never looked back, defeating an intensely competitive group of rivals, including two former World Mountain Champions and several members of the U.S. national mountain running team. This year those observers will expect to see the 27-year-old Canaday up front, and the main question will be whether his closest competition from last year can challenge him for first place this time.

The women’s field is led by Brandy Erholtz, 35, of Evergreen, Colo., who won the race in her first appearance here in 2008, won again in 2009, and has finished second twice (2010, 2012) and third once (2011) since then. As she has happily reported in her running blog, Erholtz is now four months pregnant. Although she may be slightly slower this year than last, her strength and her intelligent training keep her on top of the list of contenders.

Sponsored by Northeast Delta Dental, which provides comprehensive dental-care insurance in northern New England, the race this year welcomes its largest number of entrants ever — 1300 in all, from 34 states including Alaska and Hawaii, plus the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. It is directed by Dave McGillivray Sports Enterprises, the same organization that directs the Boston Marathon.

Canaday, a former Cornell cross-country and track runner who subsequently trained with the highly respected Hanson-Brooks Distance Project, showed last year that Mt. Washington’s severe 12-percent grade suited him well. He covered the 7.6-mile distance from the base to the summit in 58 minutes 27.58 seconds, the third-fastest time in the race’s history. Behind him were Joseph Gray of Newcastle, Wash., a former all-American steeplechaser and U.S. Mountain Running Team veteran, who finished in 1:00:33; and two-time winner (2006 and 2008) Eric Blake of New Britain, Conn., in 1:00:54. Gray’s and Blake’s times in 2012 would have won this race in most years. Gray, 29, and Blake, 34, will return this year to test their conditioning and mental toughness against Canaday’s.

Erholtz has been the steadiest female performer in the Mt. Washington Road Race women’s field for five years. She won in 2008 in 1:11:08, then lowered her time to 1:10:53 when she won in 2009. Her best time since then was last year, when she clocked 1:12:27, making her runner-up behind Kim Dobson, of Denver, Colo., who ran 1:09:25 – the second-fastest time ever recorded for the women’s field at Mt. Washington. Dobson will be absent from Mt. Washington this year, as will last year’s third-place finisher Kasie Enman of Vermont.

The uncertain variables are how fast Laura Haefeli, 44, Carolyn Stocker, 20, and Kristin Frey, 29, will finish. Haefeli, of Del Norte, Colo., the first American woman ever to win an individual medal in the World Mountain Championships, placed fourth last year at Mt. Washington, in 1:15:10, and she knows the mountain well.

Stocker set the Mt. Washington Road Race record for junior runners in 2011, lowered it to 1:18:58 with her fifth-place finish in 2012, and returns to Mt. Washington strengthened by two seasons of collegiate competition at the University of Maine. Stocker is also one of the country’s top snowshoe-racers, having won the gold medal in her age group at this year’s U.S. National Snowshoe Championship in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, placing third among all women and earning a place on the U.S. national snowshoe team that will compete next February in Sweden.

Frey will run the Auto Road for the first time, but she is familiar with steep climbs, being the premier staircase racer in the United States. A resident of Schaumburg, Ill., she has won every major stair climb race in the skyscrapers of Chicago, placed fourth in New York’s Empire State Building Run-up, and run a personal best marathon time of 3:14. In 2012 Chicago Athlete Magazine named her the Female Athlete of the Year.

Other likely top male finishers this year at Mt. Washington include Simon Gutierrez, 47, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Matt Byrne, 38, of Scranton, Penn.; Peter Maksimow, 34, of Manitou Springs, Colo.; Ryan Bak, 30, of Bend, Ore.; and Matt Flaherty, 27, of Chicago, Ill. Gutierrez won the Race in 2002, 2003 and 2005, holds the masters (over 40) record for the course in 1:01:34, and last year set a new 44-49-years age-group record of 1:02:24. On the evening before this year’s race he will be inducted into the Mt. Washington Road Race Hall of Fame, in a ceremony at the base of the Auto Road.

Byrne has run Mt. Washington four times, including a third-place finish in 2011, a personal best of 1:02:02 in 2008, and a 12th place finish last year, when the field was the most competitive in the Race’s history. Maksimow, a seasoned member of the U.S. Mountain Running team, is perennially strong.

Flaherty was expected to finish among the top contenders at Mt. Washington last year but was injured before the race. Having finished fourth in the Napa Valley Marathon in March and having won the American River 50-mile race in April, he comes to Mt. Washington with the strength and endurance to contend in this field. Bak won the inaugural Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon in Portland, Ore., last year and was the fourth U.S. finisher in the elite Fukuoka Marathon in Japan last winter. This year’s Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race kicks off his summer of international mountain racing.

Although she may not finish with the leaders this year, J’ne (pronounced “Janey”) Day-Lucore, 52, of Denver, Colo., will be in everyone’s sights when she returns to Mt. Washington. Day-Lucore has won Mt. Washington three times including a 1992 debut in which broke the existing women’s course record with a time of 1:11:46. Along with Simon Gutierrez, she will be inducted into the Mt. Washington Road Race Hall of Fame the evening before the race.

The Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race attracts hundreds of hardcore road and trail runners from across New England, other regions of the country, and abroad. In fact the number of would-be entrants has long been greater than the 152-year-old Mt. Washington Auto Road can accommodate. The “Run to the Clouds” is therefore filled each year partly by invitations issued to elite runners but primarily by a computer-generated lottery selection process that opens each year in February.

Runners pay an $80 participation fee. Fifty percent of all proceeds from the race will support Coos County Family Health Services in Berlin, N.H., a community-based organization that provides comprehensive health care and social services to everyone, regardless of economic status. The organization also provides a school-based oral health program.

The winners’ first prize in the race is $1,000, with a bonus of $5,000 for anyone who breaks the course record. The men’s course record, set in 2004 by six-time World Mountain Champion Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand, is 00:56:41. The women’s record, set by Ethiopian runner Shewarge Amare in 2010, is 1:08:21.

Delta Dental Plans of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, jointly do business as Northeast Delta Dental, headquartered in Concord, N.H., with sales offices in Saco, Maine, and Burlington, Vt. Northeast Delta Dental administers dental insurance programs for organizations of all sizes and for individuals and families who have no access to employer-sponsored dental benefits. To learn more about Northeast Delta Dental, visit www.nedelta.com and follow Northeast Delta Dental on Facebook and Twitter.

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NE Delta Dental Road Race Hall of Fame honors Day-Lucore, Gutierrez, Teschek and Wyatt

Pinkham Notch NH-Two great champions from the Rocky Mountains, the race director who brought Mt. Washington into the modern era, and the World Mountain Champion from New Zealand will be honored this summer as the newest members of the Mount Washington Road Race Hall of Fame. In a ceremony at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road on Friday evening, June 14, the Hall of Fame will induct J’ne Day-Lucore and Simon Gutierrez, each of whom won the race three times; Bob Teschek, who directed the event for 29 years; and Jonathan Wyatt, the Mt. Washington course record-holder whom many consider the best uphill runner in history.

Formed in 2010, the Mount Washington Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding performers in this annual footrace to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States. The Friday evening ceremony celebrates the folklore and history of the race while also serving as a welcome to some 1200 runners who will make the 7.6-mile ascent of the Auto Road the following morning in the 53rd running of the Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race.

Votes by the Hall’s six committee members, plus the 11 honorees chosen in previous years, determined this year’s new members of the Hall of Fame:

J’ne (pronounced “Janey”) Day-Lucore, of Denver, Colorado, first ran Mt. Washington in 1992 and set a new course record for women in one hour 11 minutes 45 seconds. Already the record-holder for the Pike’s Peak Ascent in Colorado, she came back to the Granite State in 1993 to defend her title as Queen of the Mountain and reached Mt. Washington’s 6288-foot summit seven minutes faster than her nearest challenger. She won again in her third Mt. Washington appearance, 1995, before an injury restricted her running and she turned to triathlons. Even so, she returned to Mt. Washington in 1998 and finished second only to Sweden’s Magdalena Thorsell, who broke the course record that year. Returning in 1999 at the age of 38, Day-Lucore placed fourth, and in 2001 here she was ninth woman overall, second in the master’s division behind only Olympian Joan Benoit Samuelson.

Simon Gutierrez, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, first came to Mt. Washington in 1998 and impressed everyone with a third-place finish. The following year he finished fifth — two minutes faster than in his debut. Certain he could win Mt. Washington, Gutierrez returned in 2002 and placed first in that year’s weather-shortened race, defeating the hardcore New Englanders as well as then course-record holder and Hall of Famer Daniel Kihara of Kenya. To prove he could win the race at its full distance, Gutierrez ran away from the field in 2003, then won for a third time in 2005. He is also the race’s fastest over-40 runner of all time, having broken Hall of Famer Matt Carpenter’s master’s record in 2008 by finishing fifth overall in 1:01:34, and holding six of the nine fastest master’s times ever recorded at Mt. Washington.

Bob Teschek, of Newport, N.H., ran the Mt. Washington Road Race eight times, beginning in 1966. He became the race’s director in 1982 and turned the race into one of the best-organized events in the sport. His name is familiar to countless Mt. Washington runners, as well as to race directors across the region and farther afield who use his company, Granite State Race Services, to provide timing and finish-line management to several road races on most weekends of the year. He set his own excellent personal best time (1:15:52) for the Mt. Washington Road Race in 1977 and says he will run it again some year.

Jonathan Wyatt, of Wellington, New Zealand, first ran Mt. Washington in 2004, when he became the prohibitive favorite the moment he signed up. He had already won the World Mountain Trophy three times, was an Olympic marathoner, held course records in mountain races all across Europe, and was likely not merely to win at Mt. Washington but to break the course record. In fact he broke it by a minute and 40 seconds, running through damp fog and wind to reach the summit in 56:41, nearly seven minutes ahead of runner-up and U.S. national mountain champion Paul Low. Wyatt returned in 2007 and won again in 1:01:25, still well ahead of the field. He also won the World Mountain title three more times.

The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race pits runners against one of the most challenging obstacles in road-racing anywhere. The Mt. Washington Auto Road rises at an average grade of 11.6 percent, the second half of the course being above the tree line and exposed to Mt. Washington’s notoriously capricious weather. The race has attracted Olympic athletes, Boston marathon champions, and many of the world’s great mountain running specialists, who compete in the White Mountains of New Hampshire along with numerous other runners from across the United States and abroad.

The Mt. Washington Road Race Hall of Fame recognizes athletes whose exceptional accomplishments in the race have added greatly to the history and stature of the event. Inductees are chosen by a vote of the Hall of Fame committee and Hall of Fame members from a longer list of nominees compiled by December 31 of the preceding year. Anyone is welcome to nominate candidates for consideration.

The Friday evening Hall of Fame induction is part of the annual pre-race gathering for stories, brief speeches, information and advice about running up the mountain, and other tributes to the race. The ceremony will start at 6 p.m. in the large tent at the base of the Auto Road, on Route 16 just north of Pinkham Notch. The public is invited.

Regularly updated information about the Mt. Washington Road Race Hall of Fame is available any time on Facebook (facebook.com/mwrrhof), Twitter (twitter.com/mwrrrecords) and the Hall of Fame blog (mtwashingtonrecords.blogspot.com). For further information email committee members Dave Dunham (dave.dunham@comcast.net) or John Stifler (jstifler@econs.umass.edu). For information about the Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race, visit www.mountwashingtonroadrace.com.

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Lottery Opens for 53rd Mt. Washington Road Race

Pinkham Notch, N.H. – Runners hoping to compete this summer in the Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race can register as soon as Thursday, February 14 for the online lottery that determines the field for this all-uphill footrace. This registration window opened on February 14 at 8 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and closes at 11:59 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 14. Runners may enter the lottery by visiting the race web site, www.mountwashingtonroadrace.com.

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Attracting many more would-be entrants than the 152-year-old Mt. Washington Auto Road can accommodate, the “Run to the Clouds” is filled each year partly by invitations issued to elite mountain runners but primarily by a computer-generated random selection process open to all comers. The lottery will be held on Friday, March 15, and all applicants will be notified the following day as to whether or not they have gained the opportunity to run 7.6 grueling miles to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States.

The race web site provides all necessary information for registering. A runner may register individually or as part of a team. In the latter case the team’s captain registers the team as a unit, and the lottery then either accepts or rejects the entire team. The entry fee is $80 per person. Registrants enter their credit card numbers on line; the $80 fee is charged to the cards of all accepted applicants.

Increasingly popular despite – or perhaps because of – its ultra-steep grade and Mt. Washington’s notoriously bad weather, the Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race is the premier uphill running event in the eastern U.S. It regularly attracts top American and international mountain runners along with a hard core of seasoned marathoners, track and cross-country runners, Nordic skiers, snowshoe racers, triathletes and others. Former six-time World Mountain Champion Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand holds the men’s course record, 56 minutes 41 seconds, set in 2004. The women’s record was set in 2010 by the young Ethiopian runner Shewarge Amare, who made the ascent in one hour eight minutes 21 seconds.

Runners whose recent performances indicate that they may be contenders for top places, or whose past participation in the race has contributed particularly to the event’s charisma, can bypass the lottery and enter the race as invited runners. Entry is also guaranteed for runners who have completed the six other races in the New England “Mountain Goat” race series. All previous winners of the race may enter automatically, and the previous year’s age-group winners are entitled to bypass the lottery.

The race begins at the Auto Road base on Route 16 near Pinkham Notch and climbs to the 6,288-foot summit at an average grade of 12 percent and a net altitude gain of 4,650 feet. The runners battle not only each other but the sheer force of gravity and Mt. Washington’s famously severe winds.

Based in Concord, NH, Northeast Delta Dental has sponsored the race up the historic Mt. Washington Auto Road since 2001. The dental insurance company’s President & CEO, Tom Raffio, has run the race in a personal best of one hour 50 minutes and 51 seconds. On the occasion of the 2012 “Run to the Clouds,” Northeast Delta Dental increased its already strong support for the event, making it officially the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race.

Fifty percent of all proceeds from the race will be donated 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.

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$10,000+ Raised by NE Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race to Support Local Dental Program

PINKHAM NOTCH, NH—The 2012 Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race, which took place on June 16th on the Mt. Washington Auto Road, brought 1000 dedicated runners together to tackle the Northeast’s highest peak. While it was a stellar day marked by genuine athletic achievement, the benefits will be felt long into the future in the local community, as $10,600 was raised and just donated to the Coos County Family Health Services organization (CCFHS).

“These funds will really help expand the scope of dental services to our patients and community. We rarely get funding for oral healthcare for adults, so this will make a huge difference,” noted Adele Woods, CEO of CCFHS.

The CCFHS serves approximately 15,000 area residents annually by addressing dental care needs in the clinic rather than in a hospital emergency room it helps the entire community. This community-based organization provides personalized, comprehensive health and dental care and social services to everyone, regardless of economic status.

Northeast Delta Dental has been the primary sponsor of the Mount Washington Road Race since 2001. Since 1995, the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation has funded over $45,000 to support the center’s school-based oral health education, fluoride rinse, and preventive dental services. The center’s status as the new beneficiary of the race is a reminder of the Auto Road’s and Northeast Delta Dental’s extensive ties to the region, and to the race’s commitment to the well-being of the larger community.

“Our sponsorship of this event and support of Coos County Family Health Services is all a part of Northeast Delta Dental’s commitment to the dental health and well being of North Country residents. Like the Mt. Washington Auto Road, we pride ourselves in being a part of this community and look forward to our collaborative and beneficial efforts in the future,” said Kathleen Walker, Director, External Affairs.

For more information and complete results of the Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race visit the Auto Road online at www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com. For more information about the Coos County Family Health Services organization online: www.coosfamilyhealth.org

Pictured in photo: Howie Wemyss, General Manager of the Mt. Washington Auto Road and Kathleen Walker of Northeast Delta Dental present a check for $10,600 to Robert Pelchat, Adele Woods and Loretta Morrissette, representing Coos County Family Health Services. These funds were raised during the 52nd running of the Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race.

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Six-time World Champion Marco de Gasperi will Compete in this Years Race

  • Six-time world champion Marco de Gasperi will compete in this year’s race.
  • U.S. National Mountain Championship attracts deepest men’s field ever.
  • Dobson, Erholtz and Enman again lead women.

Pinkham Notch, N.H. -Italian mountain-running star Marco de Gasperi will come to the White Mountains of New Hampshire next month to make his first appearance in the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race. A six-time winner of the World Mountain Trophy, de Gasperi leads a men’s field that includes most of the strongest American men in the sport of mountain running, since this year’s run to the summit of Mt. Washington is the selection race for the U.S. national mountain running team that will compete in the 2012 World Mountain Championships in September in Italy.

The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race is a 7.6-mile grind up the Mt. Washington Auto Road, which climbs 4650 feet to the top of the highest peak in the northeastern United States. Now in its 52nd year, the race will welcome a field of approximately 1200 runners to test themselves against the relentless grade of the historic road. Besides the severity of the climb – an average grade of 12 percent, with an extended stretch at 18 percent and a startling 22 percent slope at the finish – the race also challenges runners with the mountain’s unpredictable weather and famously high winds.

For several years, organizers of the race have dreamed of getting Marco de Gasperi to run Mt. Washington. Having won the world championship six times (1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2007, plus the juniors’ race in 1996) and having finished in the top ten on five other occasions between 2002 and 2011, de Gasperi is generally recognized as either the best mountain runner in the world or one of the best two – the other being Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand, who holds the Mt. Washington course record of 56 minutes 41 seconds. (Wyatt has been injured and will not compete this year.) De Gasperi recently confirmed that he can get enough time off from his training and work responsibilities in Europe to run both Mt. Washington and the Cranmore Hill Climb, which is held a week later in nearby North Conway NH.

While DeGasperi’s record elsewhere makes him the clear favorite here, the men’s race will be a fierce contest among all the Americans, whether they are trying to stay with de Gasperi or only to beat their countrymen to the top of the mountain and secure a place on the U.S. team.

Leading this large contingent is Mt. Washington’s defending champion Rickey Gates, of Woody Creek, Colorado. In 2009, Gates won here in 59 minutes 58 seconds, becoming only the fifth man to break the one-hour barrier on the Auto Road. Last year he won again, in one hour one minute and 32 seconds. Gates will have to contend with Tommy Manning of Colorado Springs, Colorado, who finished just ten seconds behind Gates last year after leading the race until the sixth mile.

Another threat comes from Max King of Bend, Oregon, the reigning world mountain champion. In 2010, King finished fifth at Mt. Washington, in his only appearance here, just behind Gates and a step ahead of Manning. Last September he beat de Gasperi and the rest of the men at the 2011 World Championships in Tirana, Albania, becoming only the second American world champion. (The first was Jay Johnson of Boulder, Colorado, in 1989.)

Others with a chance at making this year’s U.S. team include Matt Byrne of Scranton, Pennsylvania, who was third last year at Mt. Washington; three-time former winner Simon Gutierrez of Alamosa, Colorado; Joe Gray of Lakewood, Washington, who has earned a place on the national team in both his previous Mt. Washington efforts (2008 and 2010); Glenn Randall, of Mesa, Colorado, who finished fourth here last year; and several who have never raced here before but whose times in races elsewhere suggest that they may be in the thick of the contest next month.

The latest entry into the men’s field may be the biggest threat of all, at least among the first-timers. He is Tim Chichester, of Mount Morris, NY, who last month was the second American finisher (and eleventh overall) in the Boston Marathon. This will be Chichester’s first appearance at Mt. Washington.

The women’s field this year is not so large as the men’s, largely because the selection race for the U.S. women’s national team is later this summer -the Loon Mountain Race in Lincoln, NH, on July 8. Nevertheless, it may provide as good a race as the men’s contest, since it will feature the return of the top three finishers from last year – Kim Dobson of Denver, Colorado; Brandy Erholtz of Evergreen, Colorado, and Kasie Enman of Huntington, Vermont.

Last year Enman won the women’s world championships in Albania, as she became the first female American gold medalist in the sport and joined with King to produce a stunning double-gold victory for the U.S. team. Also returning this year, after missing the 2011 race, is Laura Haefeli of Del Norte, Colorado, who in 2005 led the American women’s team to their first-ever medal (bronze) at the world championships.

The women’s record at Mt. Washington was set in 2010 by the young Ethiopian runner Shewarge Amare, a time of one hour eight minutes 21seconds.

Amare is not expected to return this year.

The 2012 World Mountain Championships will be held on September 2 in Ponte di Legno, in the Italian Alps. Six men and four women will make up the U.S. team. The U.S. junior team (runners under the age of 20) will include four male and three female runners.

NORTHEAST DELTA DENTAL
With its headquarters in the Granite State’s capital and its eyes on the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States, Northeast Delta Dental has been the primary sponsor of the Mount Washington Road Race since 2001, when the company first linked its professional interests in healthcare to one of New England’s most celebrated challenges to human fitness. The company’s President & CEO, Tom Raffio, made a very respectable ascent himself last year, reaching the 6288-foot high finish line in one hour 50 minutes and 51 seconds. On the occasion of the 52nd “Run to the Clouds,” Northeast Delta Dental has assumed a new level of commitment to the race, which now officially bears the company’s name as part of its title.

With this significant increase in support, this year the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race will contribute half of the race’s net proceeds to the Coos County Family Health Services in nearby Berlin, NH. This community-based organization provides personalized, comprehensive health and dental care and social services to everyone, regardless of economic status.

Since 1995, the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation has funded over $45,000 to support the center’s school-based oral health education, fluoride rinse, and preventive dental services. The center’s status as the new beneficiary of the race is a reminder of the Auto Road’s and Northeast Delta Dental’s extensive ties to the region, and to the race’s commitment to the well-being of the larger community. The race expects that this year’s funding will be used especially to enhance the Coos County Family Health Services’ oral health programs.

The field for the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race is filled by means of an online lottery, with places reserved by invitation for elite runners.

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3rd Annual Mount Washington Road Race Hall of Fame Inauguration

  • Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race Mt Washington Auto Road Saturday, June 16, 2012- 9:00am.
  • 3rd Annual Mount Washington Road Race Hall of Fame Inauguration
    Friday, June 15, 2012 – 6:00pm.
  • Race’s Hall of Fame Honors Carpenter, Gareau, Maisto, and Woodward.

Pinkham Notch, NH-The world record-holder for marathons at extremely high altitudes, a Boston Marathon champion, a classics scholar who twice broke the women’s course record, and a veteran New England runner with decades of racing success have been selected as the four new members of the Mount Washington Road Race Hall of Fame. Formed in 2010 to recognize outstanding performers in this footrace to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States, the Hall of Fame this year will pay tribute to the achievements of Matt Carpenter, Jacqueline Gareau, Christine Maisto and Keith Woodward in a ceremony at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road on Friday, June 15. The next morning, the 2012 Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race will start at 9 a.m., as 1200 runners make their way up the 151-year-old Auto Road.

The 2012 Mount Washington Hall of Fame inductees:

Matt Carpenter, of Manitou Springs, Colorado, first came to Mt. Washington in 1992 and handily defeated defending champion Derek Froude of New Zealand, who two years earlier had become the first person to run this 7.6-mile race in under one hour. Carpenter won again the following year and then, after four years away from the race, returned to win it a third time in 1998. In 1999, after leading nearly the entire way, he finished second to Kenyan Daniel Kihara. In that race, Carpenter also ran his fastest-ever time at Mt. Washington, 59 minutes 16 seconds, and joined Kihara as the only two runners to break one hour at Mt. Washington more than once. His 59:16 is also the fastest non-winning time ever recorded. Returning in 2005, Carpenter broke the existing record for masters runners, in 1:02:12, a mark that stood for three years. Widely known for his ability to run hard where the air is thin, Carpenter holds records in marathons and 100-mile races in the Rockies and Himalayas.

Jacqueline Gareau of Sainte-Adele, Quebec, made her Mount Washington Road Race debut in 1989, on a day so thick with fog that runners could barely see the road. She ran to the summit in one hour 13 minutes and 13 seconds – a new record for women in the race. She won again in 1994, on a scorching hot day, and once more in 1996. In those second and third victories, she was also the first female finisher over the age of 40. In 2000 she returned again and finished second – at the age of 47. She still holds the Canadian women’s record on Mt. Washington and has held course records here in the masters age group and the 50-54 years category. In the 2011 race, she set a new record for women in the 55-59-year-age group. A massage therapist, Gareau has been renowned in marathon running since 1980, when she won the Boston Marathon. She is the only woman ever to have won both the Boston Marathon and the Mt. Washington Road Race.

Christine Maisto was a strong track and road runner when she came to Mt. Washington in 1985 and won decisively in 1:14:44, setting a new women’s course record for the Auto Road. In an event that had historically attracted far more men than women, that victory made Maisto the first woman to finish among the top 50 runners, as she placed thirty-first overall. She successfully defended her title in 1986, then finished second in 1987. After a three-year absence, she returned and won again in 1991 in a time of 1:12:16, taking the record back from Gareau. A longtime scholar of Latin and Greek, she followed her running career by earning a PhD in Classics. She now teaches at Monmouth College in Illinois.

Keith Woodward, of Stowe, Vermont, won the Mt. Washington Road Race just once, but no one has run this race more often or more consistently. Woodward won in 1983 with a time of 1:06:38, and 28 years later (2011) he set a new age group record for men 60-64, with a time of 1:21:29. Between 1973 and last year, he has completed the race 36 times, the most finishes by anyone ever. He has finished under 1:10 on sixteen different occasions, the second most in that category in the history of the race, and fifteen times in the top ten overall. His personal best was a 1:03:06 in 1985, when he finished second. In 1977, when he placed third in 1:08:15, he led the North Country Athletic Club team to the first sub-6 hour team finish (five runners’ combined times) at Mt. Washington.

The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race pits runners against one of the most challenging obstacles in road-racing anywhere in the world: the 7.6-mile Mt. Washington Auto Road, which rises at an average grade of 12 percent to the 6288-foot Mt. Washington summit. The race has attracted Olympic athletes, Boston marathon champions, and the best mountain running specialists in the world to compete in the White Mountains of New Hampshire along with numerous other runners from across the United States and from sixteen other countries.

The Mt. Washington Road Race Hall of Fame recognizes athletes whose exceptional accomplishments in the race have added greatly to the history and stature of the event. Inductees are chosen by a vote of the Hall of Fame committee from a longer list of nominees compiled by December 31 of the preceding year.

The Friday evening Hall of Fame induction is part of the annual pre-race gathering for stories, brief speeches, information and advice about running up the mountain, and other tributes to the race. The ceremony will start at 6 p.m. in the large tent at the base of the Auto Road, on Route 16 just north of Pinkham Notch.

The public is invited.

Regularly updated information about the Mt. Washington Road Race Hall of Fame is available any time on Facebook (facebook.com/mwrrhof), Twitter (twitter.com/mwrrrecords) and the Hall of Fame blog (mtwashingtonrecords.blogspot.com). For other information about the race, visit www.mountwashingtonroadrace.com.

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Northeast Delta Dental now Title Sponsor of Mt. Washington Road Race

  • Mt. Washington Auto Road announces Northeast Delta Dental as title sponsor.
  • 52nd annual Mount Washington Road Race will benefit healthcare nonprofit.
  • Lottery registration is open through March 15.

Pinkham Notch, N.H. – March 10, 2012 With its headquarters in the Granite State’s capital and its eyes on the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States, Northeast Delta Dental now has its name on the premier running event in New Hampshire. This week, the dental insurance company has raised its already well-known support for the historic race to a new level, as officials at the Mt. Washington Auto Road confirm that the race to the top of Mt. Washington will now be called the NortheastDelta Dental Mount Washington Road Race.

Northeast Delta Dental has been the primary sponsor of the Mount Washington Road Race since 2001, when the company first linked its professional interests in healthcare to one of New England’s most celebrated challenges to human fitness. The company’s President & CEO, Tom Raffio, made a very respectable ascent himself last year, reaching the 6288-foot high finish line in one hour 50 minutes and 51 seconds. On the occasion of the 52nd “Run to the Clouds,” Northeast Delta Dental assumes a new level of commitment to the race, which every year attracts a thousand runners to the Auto Road and its relentless 12 percent grade.

With this significant increase in support, this year the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race will contribute half of the race’s net proceeds to the Coos County Family Health Services. Based in nearby Berlin, NH, this community-based organization provides personalized, comprehensive health and dental care and social services to everyone, regardless of economic status.

Since 1995, the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation has funded over $45,000 to support the center’s school-based oral health education, fluoride rinse, and preventive dental services. The center’s status as the new beneficiary of the race is a reminder of the Auto Road’s and Northeast Delta Dental’s extensive ties to the region, and to the race’s commitment to the well-being of the larger community. The race expects that this year’s funding will be used especially to enhance the Coos County Family Health Services’ oral health programs.

The 1000-runner field for the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race is filled by means of an online lottery. Anyone wishing to compete in this year’s race can register for this lottery at www.mountwashingtonroadrace.com any time through 11:59 p.m. on March 15. The drawing of names in the lottery will take place on March 16. Notification of the results will go to all applicants by March 18.

Held three times in the 1930s, then organized on an ongoing basis in the 1960s, the footrace up the Mt. Washington Auto Road has a long history. Its popularity surged in the 1980s and has grown continuously since then, along with the global growth of the sport of mountain running. The 2012 race will serve as the qualifying event to select the six men who will make up the U.S. National Mountain Running men’s team that will compete in the World Mountain Championships in September in Ponte di Legno, Italy.

Originally called the Mt. Washington Carriage Road, the road to the summit of Mt. Washington was completed in 1861. Rising through several different climate zones, and offering stunning views of the White Mountains, Vermont, Maine and southern Quebec, the Auto Road is one of New England’s most spectacular attractions. The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race begins at the Auto Road base on Route 16 near Pinkham Notch and climbs to the 6288-foot summit at an average grade of 12 percent and a net altitude gain of 4650 feet. The runners battle not only each other but the sheer force of gravity and Mt. Washington’s famously unpredictable weather. Former six-time World Mountain Champion Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand holds the men’s course record, 56 minutes 41 seconds, set in 2004. The women’s record was set in 2010 by the young Ethiopian runner Shewarge Amare, a time of one hour eight minutes 21 seconds.

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