Mount Washington road race ends in first-ever tie; Concord’s Ferreira 5th

  • Concord’s Amber Ferreira races up Mount Washington on Saturday in the 59th Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race. Ferreira, 37, finished fifth overall in the women’s division, which ended in a tie for the first time in race history. RANDY ZUCCO / Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 6/15/2019 10:19:17 PM

PINKHAM NOTCH – The annual race up the highest peak in the northeastern United States ended Saturday in the first photo finish atop the summit of cold and windy Mount Washington.

Brittni Hutton, 29, of Lubbock, Texas, led for the entire 7.6-mile Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race, but Heidi Caldwell, 27, of Craftsbury Common, Vt., caught her at the finish line Saturday.

Both finished with a time of 1 hour, 16 minutes, 17 seconds in the women’s division race to the 6,288-foot top of Mount Washington. Judges initially thought Hutton had won but later declared a tie upon further review, a spokesman said.

Concord’s Amber Ferreira finished fifth in the women’s race and was the second New Hampshire woman across the finish line, behind only Kassandra Marin, 29, of Merrimack, who finished the race in 1:18:54. Ferreira, 37, finished in 1:22.10.

Eric Blake, 40, of West Hartford, Connecticut, won the men’s division with a time of 1:02:52, besting a Kenyan, Francis Kamiri, 32, by about a minute.

In the women’s race, Hutton was competing for the first time in a mountain race and jumped to a lead that she never relinquished. She said she didn’t realize Caldwell, who finished in second place last year, was creeping up from behind on the final sprint.

Listed as a resident of Lubbock but mostly living in her van as she travels to competitions, Hutton was seeing the ultra-steep Mt. Washington Auto Road for the first time. Taking the lead at the start, she ran alone for most of the race and was leading Caldwell by half a minute with the mountain’s 6288-foot summit in her sights. Caldwell, however, a two-time Ivy League 5,000-meter champion on the track at Brown University, used her speed to catch Hutton at the foot of the 22 percent grade in the final 50 yards.

“I had no idea she was that close until she was right there behind me,” said Hutton, herself a former all-American at Oakland University in Michigan. “I saw her, and it was like lightning struck. I told myself I could do it.”

She did – but so did Caldwell. The computer chip reading showed both women finishing in the same time, and a review of photos confirmed the tie. Kim Nedeau, 39, of Leverett, Mass., who had run much of the way with Caldwell, hung on strongly for third, clocking in at 1:16:49, with Marin and Ferreira to follow.

Officials said it was the first photo finish in the 59 years of the race.

In the men’s division, Kamiri, 32, went out quickly at the start and passed the one-mile mark in 6:41, a fast pace for this 7.6-mile all-uphill race. Blake followed ten seconds behind Kamiri and just ahead of Lee Berube, 28, of Syracuse, N.Y., and Nadir Cavagna, 24, of San Pellegrino, Italy. By three miles, Kamiri was feeling a stitch in his side, and Blake moved ahead. He had no close challenger after the midway point in the race, where runners reach the treeline and face Mt. Washington’s famously strong and unpredictable winds and cold air. The summit temperature as he finished was 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

“I went out slow today,” said Blake, who won this race in 2006, 2008 and 2013 and was runner-up last year. “I wanted to be smart. I thought if (Kamiri) could run 61 minutes he could win. When I passed him, he didn’t give up, and you never count someone like that out.”

Kamiri, who was seeing Mt. Washington for the first time like Hutton, gave a thumbs up to spectators on the upper slopes as he held his pace and took the runner-up prize in 1:03:51.

“I will come back next year,” Kamiri said.

Berube, who finished fourth here last year, and Cavagna, a Mt. Washington first-timer, traded places back and forth for five miles of the race before Berube passed Cavagna for the last time and ran on to third place in 1:05:44. Cavagna, fourth in 1:06:30, was well ahead of Manchester’s Nick Aguila, 29, who reached the summit in 1:09:41. Aguila and Marin won the Crossan Cup, awarded to the top male and female finishers from New Hampshire.

“It was a good Crossan Cup race today!” said Aguila.

Nottingham’s Brandon Newbould, 37, was the second male from New Hampshire to finish, taking sixth overall in a time of 1:09:53. Last year, Newbould won the cup while Aguila was close behind him.

Sponsored by Northeast Delta Dental, the race awards $1,000 apiece to the first male and female finishers, $500 for second place, smaller cash prizes for the next four men and women and the top three male and female masters (over 40), and prizes for the Crossan Cup winners. This year, Caldwell and Hutton split the first- and second-place prizes, winning $750 apiece.

Other local finishers included Allenstown’s Adam Morris (1:54:12); Belmont’s Michael Sylvia (1:58:47); Bow’s Ben Guertin (1:52:12), Emma Garfield (1:52:42), Tom Raffio (3:02:40), Benjamin Garfield (1:24:40), Sharon Clancy (2:47:48) and Ellen Raffio (2:03:26); Concord’s Ryan Kelly (1:17:35), Gavin Graham (1:41:12), Robert Beaulac (1:57:41), Kate Fleming (2:11:37), Brian Byrne (2:02:23), Hunter Cote (1:31:51), Stephen Burns (1:38:16) and Deborah Burns (2:47:51); Contoocook’s Jim Culhane (1:35:45) and Jonathan Kovar (1:32:51); Deerfield’s Jessica Harlow (1:56:37); Franklin’s Nanc Nemcovich (2:46:46) and Emily Porter (2:24:19); Hopkinton’s Christin Doneski (1:29:59), Andy Stone (2:23:16), Amy Stone (2:45:03) and Marek Telus (1:29:03); Loudon’s Patrick Ard (1:29:16); New London’s Andy Hager (1:59:54); Northfield’s David Krause (1:58:37), Andrew Lowe (1:51:46) and Rebeccah Chase (1:59:21); Pembroke’s Jillian McNeil (2:39:11); Tilton’s Sarah Szymkowski (1:55:12); Weare’s Mike Veilleux (1:25:33), Magen Curtis (2:33:18) and Scott Lemire (1:45:33); and Wilmot’s Russell Jewell (2:46:42).

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)



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