The weather reports were a little scary. Many runners wondered if the 59th running of the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race would finish at the top of the mountain.
The weather forecast for the rock pile was summit temps in the 30s with “considerable” wind, clouds, fog and possible rain showers. The perfect storm for raw and cold temps.
The email from the Auto Road read, “It will feel more like February than June. Bring your winter gear, including a hat and gloves.”
I arrived at Pinkham Notch at 5:45 a.m., with runners and volunteers and set up the tent and clothing for the White Mountain Milers.
The weather at the base was pretty nice and warming up quickly. It made it hard to imagine the forecast for the top.
Runners packed bags that would go to the top of the mountain to wait for them with warm, dry clothes and cars carrying those bags started up the mountain at 6:30 a.m.
Announcers at the race continued to warn runners about the weather at the top of the rockpile and the second guessing of “What should I wear?” began: Shorts? Shorts with tights? Jacket? Gloves?
Runners were called to the starting line for a 9 a.m. start. Meanwhile at the summit, the clouds suddenly cleared when a wind gust shook people awake in their vehicles; these were the drivers who would be bringing their friends and loved ones down the mountain after they finished and, yes, the weather was clear for a full 7.6 mile run up the auto road.
Volunteers and drivers at the top of the mountain saw the sunshine break through and the clouds move off, and now had to wait.
The runners went off to the sound of the cannon, running that first and only downhill section.
The rest of us at the base of the mountain now settled in to wait for the return of the runners. Some people enjoyed a run or walk on the trails of Great Glen.
I got to visit with Northeast Delta Dental people, their giant tooth and my grandson Beckett. Granite State Race Services had timing under control for the runners and you could check on the time of finishers.
The first runner I spoke with was Leslie O’Dell after she had run down the mountain rather than wait for a car.
Leslie said the weather at the top wasn’t as bad as expected. She changed into warm clothes for her run down but quickly found she was overdressed for her return to the base.
The big stories of the race were the first finish tie at the Mount Washington Road Race between women Heidi Caldwell of Craftsbury, Vt., and Brittni Hutton of Lubbock, Texas, in a time of 1:16:17.
And George Etzweiler. What can you say about George, who, at the age of 99, pledged to return to the race next year.
Of the 1,017 finishers, there were many local athletes on the mountain.
Eric Blake of West Hartford was the first place male in a time of 1:02:52. Eric always has a second home in the valley with Steve and Cathy Dowling and has become a part of their family.
Local and Miler finishers were: Sean Livingston ran a 1:15:27 for second place in his age group Formerly of Conway now Barrington, R.I., Sean ran his first race in five years. He holds the record for 19 and under age group in 1:09:14, and yes, he’s part of the Bernie and Eileen Livingston Family.
Andrew Drummond of Madison and Run the Whites ran 1:18:19; Leslie O’Dell of Albany finished 1:32:13 for first in her age group, Kevin Tilton of Conway, 1:34:06; Gabe Flanders of Fryeburg, 1:40:03; Jason Denver of Sanbornville, 1:43:06; Kim Proulx of Conway third in her age group at 1:46:00; Kristine Reardon of Meredith, 1:50:09; Freedom’s Michael St. Hilaire, 1:50:21; Andrea Leonard of Bartlett, 1:55:52; Fryeburg’s Andrew Clear, 1:56:34; Susannah Boone of North Conway, 1:59:25; Ashley Benes of Moultonborough 1:59:18; Paul Kirsch of Madison, 2:02:02; Victoria Weigold of Glen, 2:04:12; Intervale’s Marie Shay, 2:06:08; Corrie Hempel of Meredith, 2:06:55; Amy Osetek of Center Conway, 2:14:27; Colleen Nolan of Laconia, 2:15:30, Rich Leonard of Bartlett, 2:16:10, Stow’s Bob “Scoopman Pints” Benes, 2:17:39; Ginger Rober of North Conway ,2:17:43; Riley “oops, I forgot to train” (but he’s only 15 so has youth on his side) Gavett of Conway 2:29:16; Josie Beattie of Conway, 2:21:06; Erin Perry of Conway, 2:21:06; Nicole Poland of Moultonborough, 2:29:45; Sally Swenson of Exeter, 2:31:49; Brian Otis of Glen, 2:34:17; and Al Aldrich, who ran his 36th consecutive Mount Washington and finished in 2:40:58. Al says he gets to bypass the lottery, so he feels he has to keep running the road!
I’ve already heard someone telling the mountain, “I’ll be back!”
Full results may be found at mountwashingtonautoroad.com.
There were 102 finishers in the this week’s White Mountain Milers and Eastern Mountain Sports Whitaker Woods Trail Run Tuesday night.
It’s so amazing to see so many runners and walkers of all ages at the run.
Thank you to Eastern Mountain Sports for stepping up as a sponsor of the nine-week trail race series. Runners who complete six of the nine weeks are eligible for prizes. The run is free, but everyone is encouraged to become a member of the White Mountain Milers. The cost is $10 for students, $15 for individuals and $20 for families. The membership fees help to pay for the insurance to cover Milers events like the trail run.
White Mountain Miler clothing will be on sale at the weekly event, and proceeds go to our Gretchen B. Hatch Scholarship Fund. Go to whitemountainmilers.com for more info on the fun runs, including results.
So far, there are 16 team members and five solo runners signed up for the Bucks for Bernie 12-Hour Relay.
The race takes place on July 20 in Whitaker Woods and is a 12-hour event. The course is a 1-mile loop and promises lots of fun. All proceeds from the race go to Bernie’s Kids. Coach Bernie needs to keep his growing track and field and cross-country kids in uniforms.
This is the fifth running of the Bucks for Bernie, with the first event taking place back in 1993, with the Red and Blue Teams of 10 members each. There wasn’t a track so we ran on the grass oval behind what is now the Kennett Middle School. Those of us who can remember believe it was a lot of fun.
Go to runreg.com to sign up now.
July 31 is the next cut-off date to save money on registration for the White Mountain Milers Half Marathon, Half of the Half, Relay, 5K and Youth Dash. The race takes place on Saturday, Sept. 21 and is going to be a full day of fun! For more info, check out wmmhalf.com.
Are you running in the 32nd annual Cranmore Hill Climb 5K on the 30th?
The race takes place on the access road to the top of Cranmore and you can run back down or take the chairlift. The views are amazing from Cranmore, and if you ski the mountain, you need to check it out in the summer and see what you ski over.
The race is a tribute to Jim Soroka, who we remember fondly and always with some laughs. Just Tuesday night someone had to run home to get his watch for the fun run and was
welcomed back with a, “Who are you, Soroka?”
The race takes off at 9 a.m. and online registration ends June 26 with day of race registration available. Check out more info at whitemountainmilers.com
“Fall in love with the process and the results will come.” — Unknown
Upcoming Races and Weekly Runs:
(Please note: All of these events listed for runners and walkers. See more events at whitemountainmilers.com and sign up early for extra savings on many races.)
• Every Wednesday — Breakfast Run: 6:45 a.m. walk, 7 a.m. run, with 4-mile and 3-mile loops. Meet behind the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. Always followed by breakfast.
• Thursdays, May 9-June 27: Salomon Spring Trail Series greatglentrails.com.
• Wednesdays beginning May 22: Chi Running No Pain All Gain Training memorialpophealth.coursestorm.com/course/chi-running-no-pain-all-gain-injury-free-5k-program.
• Thursdays, beginning May 23: Tuckerman Brewery Pub Run, runthewhites on Facebook.
• Friday’s Black Mountain Vertical Series begins May 31: runthewhites on Facebook.
• Tuesdays beginning June 11-Aug 13: White Mountain Milers Free Whitaker Woods 5K Run/2-Mile Walk, 5:30 p.m., whitemountainmilers.com.
• Saturday, June 29: Ladies Only Rockhopper Clinic, Mount Washington. Six lucky entrants only. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the lottery!
• Sunday, June 30: Cranmore Hill Climb 5K, whitemountainmilers.com.
• Sunday, June 30: Danforth Bay 5K Run/Walk to benefit Freedom Elementary School danforthbay.com/5kTriplePlay.
• Sunday, July 7: Loon Mountain Race, loonmountainrace.com.
• Saturday, July 13: Tunnel to Towers 5K, North Conway, tritekevents.com.
• Tuesday, July 16: White Mountain Milers Scholarship Fundraiser with Flatbread Company North Conway, whitemountainmilers.com.
• Saturday, July 20: Bucks for Bernie, North Conway, whitemountainmilers.com.
• Thursday, Aug. 1: I’ll Be Dipped Prediction Run, Madison, whitemountainmilers.com.
• Saturday, Aug. 10: Freedom Old Home Week 15th Anniversary 5K Race, freedomoldhomeweek.net/5k-road-race.
• Saturday, Aug. 10: Dole 3 Miler, Fryeburg, dole3miler.com.
Donna Cormier is a licensed massage therapist, avid runner, and walker, cyclist, hiker, paddle boarder, and skier, with an office at 50 Seavey St., in North Conway. For more running information, ideas, contributions, race reviews and results, reach Donna at email@example.com. See you on the run.