Gray to compete against former winners Canaday and Blake, along with Kenyan, Francis Wangari, and top cyclist Cameron Cogburn
PINKHAM NOTCH, NH – One man in this year’s Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race has gotten to the top of the mountain faster than three-time winner Joseph Gray of Colorado Springs, CO – former professional cyclist, Cameron Cogburn of Arlington, MA. The difference is Cogburn did it on a bike. His time in the bike race is 50:48, while Gray’s time, which is an American record in the footrace, is 58:15. This year, we will get to learn how cycling skills translate to the footrace. Cogburn is not the only competitor that will be looking to challenge Gray. Sage Canaday, who won the race in 2012, is back for the first time since his third place finish in 2014. Canaday won the race in 58:27 in 2012. In addition, competing against Gray will be Eric Blake, of West Hartford, CT. Blake is a “multi-time” member of the US Mountain Running Team and a former winner, besting Gray in the 2013 race.
The last time that Gray, Canaday or Blake didn’t win the race was 2011, when Colorado’s Rickey Gates won. Looking to take on the top three will be Francis Wangari of Kenya, who has competed in the European Mountain Running Grand Prix Circuit and local favorite, Jim Johnson of East Madison, NH, who finished fifth overall in the 2016 race. They will be joined by local resident Tristan Williams, of Jackson, NH who probably spends more time in the high peaks of the White Mountains than any other runner. His top race results have been more in ultra and sky races but he also looks to challenge the top runners on the Auto Road this year. Former “multi-time” winner, the ageless Simon Gutierrez of Colorado Springs, CO, is back again as well, looking for another top five finish and a 50-plus age division record.
On the women’s side, Brandy Erholtz of Evergreen, CO is this year’s strong favorite, with nine top ten finishes at the race. Erholtz has battled in recent years with two fellow Colorado teammates – Kim Dobson and Shannon Payne. Dobson is not racing this year while she takes a year off to have a baby, but Payne is back again, looking to repeat her 2014 win. Joining the field this year for the first time will be Canadian Shelley Doucet of Quispamsis, New Brunswick. Doucet, who has only been running for just over three years, finished 29th at this year’s Boston Marathon in a time of 2:46:29 and has been setting course records at trail races in Atlantic Canada. New Hampshire triathlete Amber Ferreira, of Concord will be looking to better her fourth place finish of 2016. Other top contenders include Layce Alves of Gloucester, MA, Laura Brustolon of Littleton, MA, Kelsey Allen of Wendell, MA and Apryl Sabadosa of Westfield, MA.
Looking to set another age milestone will be 97-year-old George Etzweiler of State College, PA. Etzweiler was inducted into the Mount Washington Road Race Hall of Fame last year and looks to continue his phenomenal achievements with another finish in 2017. George again will be joined his son, Larry and grandson, Robert and great grandson, Malik. Larry is 71, Robert is 43 and Malik is 19.
Complete information about the race is provided at the race website, http://mtwashingtonautoroad.com/mount-washington-road-race. The race will start at 9 AM at the base of the Auto Road.
Fifty percent of all proceeds from the race will be donated to the Coos County Family Health Services in Berlin.
Northeast Delta Dental has sponsored the race up the historic Mt. Washington Auto Road since 2001. The dental insurance company, headquartered in Concord, N.H., with sales offices in Saco, Maine, and Burlington, Vt., provides dental benefits to more than 850,000 people in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, including individuals and families, and organizations of all sizes. Northeast Delta Dental’s President & CEO, Tom Raffio, has run the race in a personal best of 1:50:51. In 2012, Northeast Delta Dental increased its already strong support for the event, making it officially the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race.
Since 2012, the race has donated more than $80,000 to the dental programs of Coos County Family Health Services. Based in nearby Berlin, N.H., this community-based organization provides innovative, personalized, comprehensive health care and social services to everyone, regardless of economic status.
To learn more about the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race, visit http://mtwashingtonautoroad.com/mount-washington-road-race or on Facebook at facebook.com/mountwashingtonroadrace.
First opened in 1861 as the Mt. Washington Carriage Road, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is the country’s oldest manmade attraction. Located on Rt. 16 in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire, just north of the Mt. Washington Valley and minutes south of Gorham, the Auto Road has a long and winding history, much like its 7.6-mile trip up to the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast. For more information, visit www.MtWashingtonAutoRoad.com or call 603-466-3988.