|[ January 15, 2022 – Pinkham Notch, N.H.]
The field is set, the crews are ready, and the Auto Road is fully paved for the first time ever for the 61st running of the Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race on Saturday, June 18. After the 2020 cancellation and a modified 2021 event with Covid protocols, the race will return to a mass start and for the first time ever, it will be run on a road that is paved for the entire 7.6 miles. Race time is Saturday, June 18, 2022, at 9am. Both winners from 2021, Joe Gray and Kim Dobson, are returning, and there are a host of contenders vying to knock off the champions.
Five-time and returning champ, Joe Gray, 38 of Colorado Springs, Colo., is returning to defend his title. Having just won the Vail 10K Spring Runoff this past Sunday in convincing fashion, Gray seems to be in peak shape. A win on Saturday would bring Gray one win away from tying Bob Hodge in all time wins (currently seven) at Mt. Washington. Also, returning for her seventh run up the “rock pile,” is six time and returning champ, Kim Dobson, 38 of Eagle, Colo. Dobson has never lost a race at Mt. Washington, and is unlikely to lose this year. If Dobson wins in 2022, she will become the all-time winningest woman at Mt. Washington. Right now, Dobson is tied in wins with Anna Pichrtová at six. With a win, Dobson cements her legacy as the greatest female, Mt. Washington runner.
There are plenty of contenders who are going to do everything they can to make it a race. In the men’s race, the most likely is the ageless and always dangerous Eric Blake, 43 of West Hartford Conn. Blake has won the race four times. He is also one of the only contenders who has ever beaten Joe Gray at Mt. Washington. Lee Berube, 31 of Syracuse, N.Y., 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 N.H. male and female runners.
In addition to the returning contenders, we have three 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 Mason Coppi, 24 of Syracuse, N.Y., Everett Hackett, 32 of Hartford, Conn., and Adrian Macdonald, 33 of Fort Collins, Colo. 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.
In the women’s race the dark horse contender may be Kim Nedeau, 42 of Leverett, Mass. Nedeau has always been strong at Mt. Washington but has battled injuries seemingly every year. Nedeau is coming off a convincing win at the Ascutney Mountain Hill Climb on June 4th and seems to be in very good shape. If she runs the race she is capable of, who knows what can happen. The fifth-place finisher from 2021, Ashley Busa, 37 of Portsmouth, N.H., is also back and looking to improve. Two-time Olympic Cross-Country Skier and 7-time US National Champion, Caitlin Patterson, 32 of Portland, Maine, will be back in 2022. She finished 9th in 2019 in her first Mount Washington appearance. Also, back for a second time is Katie O’Regan, 37 from Lititz, Pa. She also finished 9th in her debut appearance in 2021. O’Regan is coming off a second-place finish at the Seven Sisters Race in Ireland which is part of the World Mountain Running World Cup Series.
New to Mount Washington in 2022 are two newcomers; Alex Lawson, 23 of Burke, Vt., and Anna Mae Flynn, 32 of Salida, 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 an accomplished ultramarathoner who considers climbing her strong suit. There is no lack of climbing awaiting her and the rest of the field!
Sponsored by Delta Dental, the race ascends the Mt. Washington Auto Road from Pinkham Notch, N.H., to the 6,288-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 which makes this race one of a kind. 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. The race will take place on Saturday, June 18th, starting at 9 a.m.