Ascutney Mt: The Battle For Second

Although we’ve already posted a couple of items from Ascutney, there are a few key things that we haven’t touched upon yet. What we’ve already covered is the fact that Eric Blake dominated. It was as if Blake was on the lead bicycle or something, it just wasn’t even close. Blake’s on another level. Behind him, the Battle For Second unfolded.

Newcomer Drew Best was able to top Brandon Newbould by the slimmest of margins (30:59 to 31:05). It was a deep, competitive field and Drew showed he could run with the mountain men of New England. Todd Callaghan continued his (uphill) roll by finishing 6th overall and locking down the top masters spot yet again (31:59).

For the ladies, Christin Doneski yet again won the women’s race. She probably won’t like us continually reminding the Level Legion of her age, but she’s a masters runner and she showed all the open runners that age doesn’t have to slow you down. Christin ran a 35:10 and finished 17th overall, topping the 37:15/22nd overall of runner-up Kerri Lyons.

For more on the stats of the race, we kick it over to Dave Dunham: 

Ascutney SNAPacidotic Pearce

Cathy Pearce, courtesy of SNAPacidotic.

Christin Doneski (WRT) ran 35:10 to take the women’s title running the third fastest time ever. Her time also smashed Suzy West’s previous course record for masters by 1:42. West ran 36:52 in 2003.

Cathy Pearce (WRT) finished in fifth place overall as she topped the 50+ age group. Her 39:32 broke Suzy West’s age group CR of 40:52 from 2013.

Dave Dunham (CMS) finished in eight place overall taking the senior title in 32:09. His time broke Mt Washington Hall of Fame member Keith Woodward’s course record of 33:34 from 2002.

Len Hall was top veteran running a 40:10 which knocked one second off of John Pelton’s age group CR from 2001.

The final record of the day was the field of 201 finishers which topped the biggest field of 192 from 2011.

New senior record holder Cathy Pearce had this to say about her race:

“I didn’t know what the record was when I ran up. I was hoping to break 40 minutes. And not be too far off what I ran back in 2002, which was the last time I ran up there.

“Training is coming around after a foot injury in February that kept me from running Boston. Sunday felt really tough though. I got a little dehydrated and was getting chills, so I’m hoping the weather is a little cooler for Mt Washington. Or I might have to carry some water.”

And lastly, we had to get an interview with the soon-to-be Mt Washington Road Race Hall of Famer Dave Dunham:

How does it make you feel setting the bar a little higher for the other seniors?

Ascutney SNAPacidotic Dunham

Mountain Man Dave Dunham, courtesy of SNAPacidotic.

Great to be in the new age group…sort of like hitting the reset button. I’m looking forward to setting some records but there is always someone right there. Heck, Erik Vandendries finished 10 seconds behind me at Ascutney and he is 49. I’m guessing we’ll have some battles in the 50+ next year.

Do you view this race as a measuring stick for Mt Washington?

Ascutney is a bit tougher than Mt Washington. The average grade is the same but Ascutney has a bunch of flattish sections so the steep stuff is quite steep. It does help with confidence knowing you can do some tough climbing leading into Mt Washington.

Considering your rough start to the year, do you think you’re just getting going taking down these senior records?

Not many other records I’d have a shot at with guys like Craig Fram, having run many of the races. I’m looking towards just trying to place well in my new age group and get/stay healthy.

Ah, looking forward to Mt Washington and beyond. The mountain season is just starting to heat up!

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