Mt. Washington Auto Road
America's oldest and continuously-operating attraction
The Mt. Washington Auto Road is looking forward to hosting the 59th running of the Northeast Delta Dental Road Race.
Mount Washington Road Race
Mt. Washington Auto Road
June 15, 2019 – 9 a.m.
May 8, 2019 — Pinkham Notch, NH
Dobson, 35, has won the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race each of the five times she has entered, beginning with her first appearance here in 2011 and continuing in 2012, 2015-2016, and 2018. Last year she not only dominated the women’s field but was the seventh person overall to cross the finish line, behind just six men and ahead of more than 1000 other finishers. Her 2012 winning time, one hour nine minutes 25 seconds, is the American women’s record for the course and the second-fastest time by any woman on the Auto Road. (Shewarge Amare of Ethiopia clocked 1:08:21 in 2010.)
Gray, also 35, is generally regarded as the top mountain runner in the United States and one of the best in the world. He has competed for nine consecutive years in the World Mountain Championships, including his first-place finish in Bulgaria in 2016, when he led the U.S. men to the team gold medal. After finishing fourth in his initial attempt at Mt. Washington and then third and second in subsequent appearances, he began a four-year string of victories (2014-2017) here. In 2016, he set the American men’s course record, 58:12, second-fastest time ever for this course. (The overall course record, 56:41, belongs to six-time world mountain champion Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand.)
Gray missed Mt. Washington in 2018, as he was competing abroad. In his absence, the men’s winner was Italian mountain runner Cesare Maestri. Maestri is not returning this year, but two of his compatriots will be making their Mt. Washington debuts. Gaia Colli, just 20 years old, has competed on the Italian national junior team each of the past two years and has placed among the top ten finishers in major European competitions. Nadir Cavagna, 25, was part of the Italian team that won the silver medal in the World Mountain Championships last year. He has run head to head with Maestri in European cross-country racing and should arrive at Mt. Washington with the same kind of experience and stamina. Both Italians are likely to place high here.
As usual, the favorites will be wary of challenges from seasoned veterans who concede nothing on the Mt. Washington Auto Road’s severe 12 percent grade. Joe Gray is already very familiar with Eric Blake, of West Hartford, Conn., the Mt. Washington champion in 2006, 2008 and 2013. Last year Blake ran with Maestri for most of the race before finishing second. Now 40, he is likely to win his age group and will surprise no one if he is Gray’s main challenge.
Also in the mix should be Simon Gutierrez of Alamosa, Colorado, who won this race in 2002, 2003 and 2005. At 53, Gutierrez continues to be one of the strongest runners in the field, having finished sixth last year and understanding the course as well as anyone. He is credited for having helped inspire Gray to his first successes in mountain running.
A possible dark horse in the men’s race is Lee Berube, 28, of Syracuse, N.Y. A seven-time collegiate all-American, Berube has focused more on mountain running in recent years, with a fourth-place finish at Mt. Washington last year and a fifth at the U.S. national mountain championships. Other top men include Mike Popejoy, 33, of Flagstaff, Arizona, who has competed for the United States several times in the North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Cross Country Championships; and Matt Lipsey, 29, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, seventh male finisher at Mt. Washington in 2018.
A strong challenger in the women’s side is Heidi Caldwell, 27, of Craftsbury Common, Vermont. Part of the legendary Caldwell family of Nordic skiers and a former collegiate standout at Brown, she was runner-up to Dobson last year. Others include Shelley Doucett, 35, from Quispamsis, New Brunswick, who placed third last year; Kim Nedeau, 39, of Leverett, Mass.; Amber Ferreira, 37, a top triathlete and snowshoe racer from Concord, N.H.; Kassandra Marin, 29, of Merrimack, N.H., who placed fifth at Mt. Washington last year while taking the prize for first New Hampshire finisher; and Brandy Erholz, 41, of McCall, Idaho, who won this race in 2008 and 2009 and has recorded several runner-up finishes, including one when she was four months pregnant.
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. In addition to the unrelenting grade, runners face the added challenge of Mt. Washington’s famously high winds, precipitation, and unpredictable temperatures. 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), and a $5000 bonus for setting a new course record. The race will take place on June 15th, starting at 9 a.m. For other information visit www.mountwashingtonroadrace.com.