By Paul Kirsch
The 55th Running of the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race is almost upon us, with this year’s race taking place on Saturday June 20th. This year’s field looks to be as competitive as ever. On the men’s side we have three sub-one hour winners returning to take on the Beast of East and on the women’s side we have three former winners in the top athlete mix.
On the women’s side, we were sorry to hear that last year’s winner, Shannon Payne, will not be returning as she is battling some injuries that are still on the mend. We wish Shannon the best of wishes on healing and getting back to another stellar year in 2016 at Mt. Washington.
At the top, the battle for the podium includes several members of Team Colorado. Kim Dobson (Grand Junction, CO) is a 2 time winner at Mt. Washington. After taking some time off to have a baby she is back ready to try and win her third Mt Washington. Kim just finished second to Morgan Arritola at the Vail Pass Half Marathon so she is looking strong and back to form.
Brandy Erholtz, from Evergreen, CO, also a two time winner, is back. Erholtz has run the race 7 times and finished in the top 10 all seven times. Expect her to be battling Kim out for the lead. Erholtz just finished 3rd at the Vail 10Km Spring Runoff behind Megan Kimmel and Morgan Arritola.
The other top Colorado runner coming this year is Laura Haefeli , who won the race in 2013 for the first time and is the 45-49 age division record holder is also back. Haefeli was top masters at the Vail 10km Spring Runoff this past weekend.
Three runners with New Hampshire roots will all be looking to be on the podium for this year’s race. We start first with Amber Ferreira from Concord, NH, who is probably one of the most versatile athletes in the field. Ferreira is a world class triathlete, a former US Snowshoe Champion and who has finished in the top 10 at Mount Washington and the US Mountain Running Championships.
Larisa Dannis returns to the race after her sixth place finish in 2014. Formerly of Strafford, New Hampshire, she currently resides in Mill Valley, CA. Dannis won the 50 Mile Road Championships last year as well as finishing second at the prestigious Western States 100 Mile Race. She battled a stress fracture after last year’s 100km World Championships but is looking to be strong in time for Washington.
Denise Sandahl from Bow, NH is also back and looks to be very competitive after her top 5 finish last year. Sandahl is coming off of a 2:48 at the Boston Marathon this year. Last year, besides her 5th place at Washington, she was also 16th overall at the US Mountain Running Championships at the Loon Mountain Race.
Other runners from New England who will be competing for top 10 spots include Abby Mahoney of Holyoke, MA, Abbey Wood of Laconia, NH, Ashley Krause of Easthampton, MA and Regina Loicano of Gloucester, MA.
Good luck to everyone who will be running this year’s race, whether elite or somewhere else in the pack, conquering the hill is always an accomplishment.
On the fun side, a great family running story- for some families, father and son running together in the race can be a great memory. Taking that to the extreme this year will be George and Larry Etzweiler. Larry is aged 69, and he is the son. George, his father, will be running the race this year at age 95. Yes, 95.