Published DatePINKHAM NOTCH — The world record-holder for marathons at extremely high altitudes, a Boston Marathon champion, a classics scholar who twice broke the women’s course record, and a veteran New England runner with decades of racing success have been selected as the four new members of the Mount Washington Road Race Hall of Fame.
Formed in 2010 to recognize outstanding performers in this footrace to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States, the Hall of Fame this year will pay tribute to the achievements of Matt Carpenter, Jacqueline Gareau, Christine Maisto and Keith Woodward in a ceremony at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road on Friday, June 15. The next morning, weather-permitting, the 2012 Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race will start at 9 a.m., as 1200 runners make their way up the 151-year-old Auto Road.
The 2012 Mount Washington Hall of Fame inductees:
Matt Carpenter, of Manitou Springs, Colorado, first came to Mt. Washington in 1992 and handily defeated defending champion Derek Froude of New Zealand, who two years earlier had become the first person to run this 7.6-mile race in under one hour. Carpenter won again the following year and then, after four years away from the race, returned to win it a third time in 1998.
In 1999, after leading nearly the entire way, he finished second to Kenyan Daniel Kihara. In that race, Carpenter also ran his fastest-ever time at Mt. Washington, 59 minutes 16 seconds, and joined Kihara as the only two runners to break one hour at Mt. Washington more than once. His 59:16 is also the fastest non-winning time ever recorded. Returning in 2005, Carpenter broke the existing record for masters runners, in 1:02:12, a mark that stood for three years. Widely known for his ability to run hard where the air is thin, Carpenter holds records in marathons and 100-mile races in the Rockies and Himalayas.
Jacqueline Gareau of Sainte-Adele, Quebec, made her Mount Washington Road Race debut in 1989, on a day so thick with fog that runners could barely see the road. She ran to the summit in one hour 13 minutes and 13 seconds – a new record for women in the race. She won again in 1994, on a scorching hot day, and once more in 1996. In those second and third victories, she was also the first female finisher over the age of 40. In 2000 she returned again and finished second – at the age of 47.
She still holds the Canadian women’s record on Mt. Washington and has held course records here in the masters age group and the 50-54 years category. In the 2011 race, she set a new record for women in the 55-59-year-age group. A massage therapist, Gareau has been renowned in marathon running since 1980, when she won the Boston Marathon. She is the only woman ever to have won both the Boston Marathon and the Mt. Washington Road Race.
Christine Maisto was a strong track and road runner when she came to Mt. Washington in 1985 and won decisively in 1:14:44, setting a new women’s course record for the Auto Road. In an event that had historically attracted far more men than women, that victory made Maisto the first woman to finish among the top 50 runners, as she placed thirty-first overall. She successfully defended her title in 1986, then finished second in 1987.
After a three-year absence, she returned and won again in 1991 in a time of 1:12:16, taking the record back from Gareau. A longtime scholar of Latin and Greek, she followed her running career by earning a PhD in Classics. She now teaches at Monmouth College in Illinois.
Keith Woodward, of Stowe, Vermont, won the Mt. Washington Road Race just once, but no one has run this race more often or more consistently. Woodward won in 1983 with a time of 1:06:38, and 28 years later (2011) he set a new age group record for men 60-64, with a time of 1:21:29. Between 1973 and last year, he has completed the race 36 times, the most finishes by anyone ever.
He has finished under 1:10 on sixteen different occasions, the second most in that category in the history of the race, and fifteen times in the top ten overall. His personal best was a 1:03:06 in 1985, when he finished second. In 1977, when he placed third in 1:08:15, he led the North Country Athletic Club team to the first sub-6 hour team finish (five runners’ combined times) at Mt. Washington.
The Mount Washington Road Race pits runners against one of the most challenging obstacles in road-racing anywhere in the world: the 7.6-mile Mt. Washington Auto Road, which rises at an average grade of 12 percent to the 6288-foot Mt. Washington summit. The race has attracted Olympic athletes, Boston marathon champions, and the best mountain running specialists in the world to compete in the White Mountains of New Hampshire along with numerous other runners from across the United States and from sixteen other countries.
The Mt. Washington Road Race Hall of Fame recognizes athletes whose exceptional accomplishments in the race have added greatly to the history and stature of the event. Inductees are chosen by a vote of the Hall of Fame committee from a longer list of nominees compiled by December 31 of the preceding year.
The Friday evening Hall of Fame induction is part of the annual pre-race gathering for stories, brief speeches, information and advice about running up the mountain, and other tributes to the race. The ceremony will start at 6 p.m. in the large tent at the base of the Auto Road, on Route 16 just north of Pinkham Notch.
The public is invited.