Mount Washington Auto Road, Gorham NH

Mt. Washington Auto Road 

America's oldest and continuously-operating attraction

Jun 8, 2018
Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race Mt. Washington Auto Road Saturday, June 16, 2018, 9 a.m.

Women’s record holder Shewarge Amare returns after eight years.

Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race  Mt. Washington Auto Road Saturday, June 16, 2018, 9 a.m.

Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race
Mt. Washington Auto Road
Saturday, June 16, 2018, 9 a.m.
Women’s record holder Shewarge Amare returns after eight years.
Defending champion Payne and 4-time winner Dobson face stiff challenge.
Canaday, Blake, Wacker head men’s field.
Four-time men’s champion Joe Gray will be absent.
Bicycle Hillclimb winner Cogburn will run.
Pinkham Notch, NH – June 4, 2018
Suspense over the outcome of the 2018 Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race has grown sharply as the result of two late developments. Shewarge Amare of Ethiopia, who in 2010 smashed the women’s course record in her first – and until now only – appearance in the race, plans to return to the historic Auto Road this month to try to repeat her performance of eight years ago. Meanwhile, Joseph Gray, who has won the men’s race each of the past four years, will miss Mt. Washington this year, as he is preparing to compete instead as part of the U.S. team at the 15th WMRA Long Distance Mountain Running Championships on June 24, in Karpacz, Poland.

After an eight-year absence, Shewarge Amare’s appearance turns what would have been a likely duel between defending champion Shannon Payne and four-time winner Kim Dobson into a three-way battle in this race to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern U.S.

Dobson of Eagle, Colo., holds the second-fastest time ever recorded in the women’s race – one hour 9 minutes 25 seconds – and is the only woman to break 1:10 twice on the extremely steep 7.6-mile course. Payne of Franktown, Colo., won Mt. Washington in 2014, in 1:10:12. Absent in 2015 and 2016, she returned last year and won in 1:11:21.

Amare, who lives and trains in New York City, ran away from the field in 2010 when she set her course record of 1:08:21. Now 31, she is at an age where endurance runners’ stamina is usually at its peak. So are Dobson, 34, and Payne, 33.

After his victories in 2014-2017, including an American-record time of 58:15 in 2015, Gray leaves the door wide open with his absence. The surest contenders for this year’s top honors are Sage Canaday, 32, of Boulder, Colo., who won Mt. Washington in 2012, and Eric Blake, 39, of West Hartford, Conn., winner in 2006, 2008 and 2013. The two have battled each other several times on the Auto Road. Last year, Canaday finished second, Blake third.

Their likely challengers include Andy Wacker of Boulder, Colo., and Italian mountain runners Cesare Maestri and Alex Baldaccini. Wacker, 29, finished second in 2015, his one previous Mt. Washington appearance. Maestri finished 12th last year at the World Mountain Running Championships and has won numerous international mountain races. Baldaccini, who has been on the Italian national mountain running team for several years, placed sixth in the 2012 world championships and ninth in 2016. This will be both Italians’ first Mt. Washington appearance.

Two particularly interesting entrants are Cameron Cogburn, 32, of Arlington, Mass., and 21-year-old, Patrick Caron of Needham, Mass. Cogburn, one of the strongest cyclists in the eastern United States, has twice won the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, a bike race on the same course as the footrace. Caron, already among the elite ultra-distance runners in the United States, has won more than 10 races in the past year, six of them in course-record times.

Other men to watch include 52-year-old Simon Gutierrez, of Alamosa, Colo., who has won this race three times (2002, 2003, 2005) and can still keep pace with almost anyone; and Matt Lipsey, 28, of Harrisburg, Pa.

The women’s elite field includes last year’s third-place finisher Shelley Doucet, 34, of Quispamsis, New Brunswick; former World Mountain Champion Kasie Enman, 38, of Huntington, Vt.; Apryl Sabadosa, 34, of Westfield, Mass.; snowshoe racer Amber Ferreira, 36, of Concord, N.H.; 2016 Mt. Washington runnerup Kim Nedeau, 38, of Leverett, Mass.; Kassandra Marin, 28, of Merrimack, N.H.; and Lindsey Scherf, 31, of High Falls, N.Y.

Sponsored by Northeast Delta Dental, the race ascends the Mt. Washington Auto Road from Pinkham Notch, N.H., to the 6288-foot summit of Mt. Washington. Canaday and Blake are two of just eight men who have broken the one-hour barrier in this race. Dobson’s 1:09:25 is the American women’s record for the course. The men’s overall record, 56:41, was set in 2004 by six-time World Mountain Champion Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand.

The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race will be held on Saturday June 16, starting at 9 a.m. Names and hometowns of all registered entrants can be found on a list at this link, sortable in alphabetical order by name and by state, province, or foreign country: