action:article | category:SPORTS10 | adString:SPORTS10 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » Running

June 13. 2013 10:09PM

Atop New England, runners are satisfied at the Mount Washington summit


Kevin Tilton, of North Conway, NH, with a time of 1:05:54, was the first New Hampshire finisher, in last year's 52nd running of The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race. 

Fourteen years ago, when he was 18, Conway's Kevin Tilton raced the 7.6 miles up the Mount Washington Auto Road for the first time.

"I'm still in high school at the time, and after running every step for three miles, I notice the course is still going up," he recalled this week. "By the time you reach the finish line, your heart is in your throat and your legs are burning. I swore after that first time, I would never run it again."

Tilton didn't keep his promise.

On Saturday at 9 a.m., he'll answer the starting cannon at the base of the Auto Road in Gorham for the 14th time, joining a field comprising both world-class competitors and recreational runners in the 53rd Mount Washington Road Race.

"I grew up in the area, and it's my hometown race," said Tilton, the top New Hampshire finisher in last year's race, with a time of 1 hour 5 minutes 54 seconds.

"Competing against the world's best (mountain) runners on a course which is relentless is challenging for me. It's grueling when you run it but rewarding when you finish it."

Sage Canaday of Boulder, Colo., returns as the defending champion. Last year, Canaday registered the third-fastest time in Mount Washington history, 58:27, in finishing ahead of Joseph Gray of Newcastle, Wash. (1:00:33), a former all-American steeplechaser and U.S. Mountain Running Team veteran, and two-time Mount Washington winner Eric Blake of New Britain, Conn. (1:00:54), who placed third in 1:00:54.

All three are returning to battle for this year's top spot at the highest summit in the Northeast.

In the women's field, Kim Dobson of Denver, who has won the last two races, will not return this season.

In the field this season is 35-year-old Brandy Erholtz of Evergreen, Colo., who won consecutive Mount Washington races in 2008-09, was runner-up in 2010 and 2012, and placed third in 2011.

Erholtz is four months pregnant, said race organizer John Stifler.

"Although she may be slightly slower this year than last, her strength and her intelligent training keep her on top of the list of contenders," Stifler said.

Even at the age of 54, Craig Fram of Plaistow continues to be one of New Hampshire's most successful runners.

He won the race in 1997, was runner-up in 1995, fourth in 1996 and third in 2001 and 2002. In 2001, at 42, Fram finished in 1:04:29, breaking a men's masters record that had stood since 1962. No one has won more prize money at Mount Washington than Fram.

"He's amazing," said Tilton. "The way he races and his ability to stay in it is impressive. Recently in this race he passed me at the 4-1/2-mile mark, and I just shook my head. He's not only relentless, but he's tenacious, which you have to be on this course. It's a grind because it never gives you a break."

Comparing a marathon to the Mount Washington road race, Tilton said, "they're both grueling. The marathon is a thinking man's race. In the Mount Washington race, you have to be physically and mentally fit to survive it."

New Hampshire will be represented well in this year's race.

Among the notable Granite Staters are New Hampton's Freeman brothers, Justin and Kris. Better known as nordic skiers — both are former national champions, and Kris is a three-time Olympian — the Freemans also are accomplished runners. Last year at Mount Washington, Justin Freeman finished 24th overall.

Denise Spenard, 46, of Manchester, who finished 39th overall in the women's field last season, will compete again Saturday.


 NH Sports Angle ╗ more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

State sells Windham golf course site for $3.06M

Ex-minor leaguers sue MLB over low salaries

$14M to beaten Giants fan returns security focus

Matt Bonner and brother bring rock show back to Redhook

GM: Twin State Speedway progressing with revival

Foot golf arrives on Seacoast

New Hampshire's Burns gets more than he could ever ask for

Pro runner's yoga class will raise money for clean Kenyan water

Menard wrecks as New Hampshire testing concludes

Lawyers try to bar Patriots from paying Hernandez $3.2M bonus

Pease Golf Course celebrates opening of lower nine holes

NFL rule could signal end of Justin Tuck signature facemask and that's a good thing according to UNH findings

NH man almost wins first $500k winner-takes-all open basketball tournament

Blue Jays move Dalton Pompey up to New Hampshire

Field set for 110th anniversary ĹClimb to the Clouds' car race

Contractors volunteer to complete renovations for 5th Annual Jericho ATV Festival

Dartmouth dismisses menĺs lacrosse coach

Jay Perrin looks to take his MMA career to the next level at Combat Zone 49

Dartmouth runner poised for long-term success on pro circuit

'Great Race' makes pit stop in Rochester

CHIP KELLY

Chip Kelly: Last practice not Fred Flintstone leaving work

Traffic jams expected with 30,000 fans at Epping dragway

Calgary Stampsĺ St. Pierre, complete with tattoos and plenty of brawn, not your typical NH wedding planner

Laconia man wins grueling 500-mile race in 9 days

NH native, famed NASCAR engine building, dead at 98

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

   ╗ SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

   ╗ ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!