Runners Challenged with wind, rain at 62nd Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race


[June 18, 2023 – Pinkham Notch, N.H.]

With the forecast calling for torrential rain, the weather cooperated just enough to allow the 62nd running of the Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race. After a weather shortened race in 2022, all eyes were on the forecasts in hopes that runners could return to the summit this year. Not only were runners able to race to the summit again, but they were also treated to surprisingly decent conditions at the base with slight drizzle and fog above the tree line and relatively calm winds which provided decent running conditions. But in typical Mt. Washington fashion, the weather took a turn for the worse about an hour into the race, and conditions devolved into a steady, almost horizontal, cold, windswept rain with visibilities of about ten to twenty feet at the summit, thus reminding us of the power of Mt. Washington.

Undeterred and running his way through the drizzle and fog as if he were out for a jog, Joseph Gray, 39 of Colorado Springs, Colo., won easily for a record tying 7th time. Gray finished with a time of 1:00:24, a minute and a half faster than the second-place finisher. With the win Gray moves into a tie for all time wins with Kim Dobson and Bob Hodge and moves his already legendary status up yet another notch. It also makes for an enticing 63rd edition in 2024 in which Gray could stand alone as the winningest runner in Mt. Washington history with a win.

Gray, along with second-place finisher Sam Chelanga, 38 of Colorado Springs, Colo., and third-place finisher Tyler Andrews, 33 of Concord, Ma., set the pace early. Chelanga, a member of the US Army’s World Class Athletes Program, went out quickly and held an early lead. Within a mile, Gray grabbed the lead and never looked back. Chelanga finished a minute and a half after Gray in a time of 1:01:54. Rounding out the podium was Tyler Andrews, an adventure and ultra distance runner, just twelve seconds behind Chelanga in a time of 1:02:06. Andrews admittedly had no idea that Chelanga was within striking distance as visibility was no more than a few feet due to the dense fog.

Rounding out the top five on the men’s side was Mt. Washington Hall of Famer, Eric Blake, 44 of West Hartford, Conn., in a time of 1:03:00. Blake is a 4-time winner and 16-time top 5 finisher at Mt. Washington. And, the finisher in 5th place and winner of the men’s Crossan Cup as the first finisher from New Hampshire in a time of 1:05:34 was Jeffrey Allen. Allen, 22 of Litchfield, N.H., is a collegiate runner at UMass Lowell, and surprised himself with his finish. Allen, now a two-time winner of the Crossan Cup, also won it in 2018 at the age of 17.

On the women’s side Amber Ferreira, 41 of Concord, N.H., won for the first time at Mt. Washington in a time of 1:15:16. Ferreria, who finished second last year and has had many top ten finishes, finally earned her spot at the top of the podium. She also won the Crossan Cup for the second year in a row. This marks the first win for a New Hampshire native in more than 20 years. Ferreira and second-place finisher Marybeth Chelanga (married to Sam from the men’s race), 33 of Colorado Springs, Colo., went out hard and never looked back. Chelanga, in her first attempt at Mt. Washington, and Ferreira ran together pretty much the whole way, but Ferreira had just a little extra to give to get the win that has eluded her for so long. Meghan Davis, 22 of Plainfield, Ma. and a first-time runner at Mt. Washington, finished in third-place in a time of 1:17:46.

Finishing out the top five on the women’s side was one of the pre-race favorites, Kasie Enman, 43 of Huntington, Vt., who finished in a time of 1:18:07. Unfortunately, Enman was battling back from an illness that kept her out of the World Mountain Running Championships last week. One minute behind Enman was Tammy Hsieh, 32 of Cambridge, Ma., in a time of 1:19:07.

Race organizers wish to thank the over 100 volunteers who faced some of the most challenging conditions at the summit for this event as well as the staff at the Mt. Washington State Park and the Mount Washington Observatory. The summit is hosted by NH Department of Resources and Economic Development, Division of Parks and Recreation, and Mount Washington State Park. Other sponsors include the Glen House Hotel and Pepsi.

Full results can be found on the Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race website.

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.

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