One Big Hill - Page 2
USATF Mountain/Ultra/Trail (MUT) chair Nancy Hobbs says she knew Canaday would do well, but that even she was surprised by his runaway victory. “He was definitely my pick to finish top 10. I saw him the day before, and he looked extremely focused and ready to run,” says Hobbs.
The top six American men at Mount Washington qualified for the USMRT and the World Championship. Canaday, who recently relocated to Boulder, Colorado, finished in 58:27, the second-fastest time in course history. USMRT veterans Joseph Gray of Newcastle, Washington, and Eric Blake of New Britain, Connecticut, finished second and third, respectively, in 1:00:33 and 1:00:54.
Rounding out the top six were first-time qualifier Glenn Randall of Mesa, Colorado, who clocked a 1:00:58 for fourth; USMRT veteran Tommy Manning of Colorado Springs, who finished sixth in 1:01:52; and newcomer Tim Chichester, of Mount Morris, New York, who finished seventh in 1:02:06. Six-time World Mountain Running Champion Marco De Gasperi of Bormio, Italy, finished fifth in 1:01:38.
Defending U.S. and World Mountain Running Champion, Max King of Bend, Oregon, was battling an illness and finished one spot short of qualifying in 1:02:21.
“There were surprises, but with the dynamic of so many good people, it was impossible to predict what would happen,” says USMRT Team Leader Richard Bolt. “It was easily the best field we’ve ever assembled, and we’ve been saying that, accurately, each time we assemble a national-championship event. To have 32 people under 70 minutes on that course, and to have all six team members near or under 62 minutes, that’s the fastest team we’ve ever had.”
Hobbs says the unique format of the Mount Washington Road Race—an unrelenting 7.6-mile ascent up New England’s highest peak—makes results difficult to predict. “The field was really stacked, and it gets more stacked each year, as we get more exposure and more elite or sub-elite athletes realize [gaining a spot on the USMRT] is another chance to be on a world team or go for a national title,” she said. “[King] said it’s harder now to make the USMRT than the U.S. Cross-Country Team.”
Hobbs is excited about the prospects of the team, which won a team silver medal at Worlds two years ago and placed fourth last year. “I’m thrilled to have three veterans and three newcomers,” she says. “It is a great mix.”