Coloradans win Mount Washington Road Race
PINKHAM NOTCH, N.H. – Marathoner Sage Canaday, who has little experience in uphill racing, ran away from the pack Saturday to win the 52nd Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race, a 7.6-mile all-uphill grind to the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast.
Starting conservatively, then moving to the lead after the first two miles, 26-year-old Canaday, of Boulder, pulled away and reached the 6,288-foot summit in 58 minutes 27 seconds, the third-fastest time ever recorded in the race.
The women’s winner was Kim Dobson, of Denver, who won last year’s race as well. Dobson returned stronger and faster this time, dropping her strongest challengers and running up the Mount Washington Auto Road in 1:09:25. The mountain access road has 4,560 feet of vertical gain, at an average grade of 12 percent.
Dobson, 28, became only the second woman to break the 70-minute barrier on Mount Washington. Her time Saturday was 1 minute and 5 seconds slower than the course record set in 2010 by Ethiopian runner Shewarge Amare (1:08:20).
The men’s record is 56:41, set in 2004 by world mountain running champion Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand. Neither Amare nor Wyatt entered the race this year. The only other man ever to run here faster than Canaday was Daniel Kihara of Kenya, who completed 1996 race up the Auto Road in 58:21.
Canaday, who moved from Oregon to Boulder two weeks ago, and Dobson both faced formidable competition. The men’s field was particularly strong, since this year’s race served as the selection event for the U.S. men’s national mountain running team, which will compete in the world championships in Italy on Sept. 2.
Saturday’s weather was ideal for the race, in the low 60s at the start and low 50s at the summit.
The women’s field included two-time Mount Washington winner Brandy Erholtz of Evergreen, Colo., and Kasie Enman of Huntington, Vt., the reigning women’s world mountain running champion.
At the start, 25-year-old Glenn Randall, a former NCAA Nordic skiing champion, seized the lead, followed by a large pack of other American men hoping to finish in the top six and thereby be selected for the national team. With them was Marco deGasperi, 35, of Bormio, Italy, himself a six-time world mountain champion and in most eyes the pre-race favorite.
“I started conservatively,” Canaday said afterward. “I saw a couple of other guys hanging back who had won here before, and I figured they knew what they were doing. “Then, around mile two, I went ahead.”
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