Hall of Fame inauguration highlights 50th Mt. Washington Road Race
· Hodge, Pichrtova, Norris, Crossan first inductees
On the eve of the 50th running of the Mt. Washington Road Race, four of the greatest runners in the race’s history will become the first members of the new Mt. Washington Road Race Hall of Fame. Bob Hodge of Massachusetts, Anna Pichrtova of the Czech Republic, legendary English coal-miner-turned runner Fred Norris, and the late Gary Crossan of New Hampshire have been chosen by a committee made up of the race’s organizers. These runners, each with an outstanding history at Mt. Washington, were selected from a larger list of nominees with exceptional accomplishments in this all-uphill race to the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast.
Presented by Northeast Delta Dental, with additional sponsorship by New England Runner magazine and La Sportiva, this year's Mt. Washington Road Race takes place on Saturday, June 19. The inaugural Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at a ceremony on Friday, June 18, the night before the race, at the Eagle Mountain House in Jackson, N.H.
The inductees and their accomplishments:
Bob Hodge- The only person ever to win this race seven times, Hodge won from 1976-1980 and again in 1985 and 1987, setting a new course record in 1977, 1978 and 1979. He has finished thirteen times in the top ten, including finishing second in 1989 in the narrowest margin ever, losing by one second.
Anna Pichrtova- A former World Mountain Running Champion, Pichrtova, from the Czech Republic, has won the race six times, including four wins in four consecutive attempts (2001-2004) and then two more in 2006 and 2007. In 2005 she finished second while running the third-fastest time of any woman in this race ever --1:10:26.
Gary Crossan- A New Hampshire native, Crossan won the race four times and finished in the top ten two other times between 1980 and 1986. He set a course record of 1:01:13 in his 1984 victory, also winning in 1981, ’82 and ’86. Now, in his memory, the race each year awards the Crossan Cup to the first male and female finishers from New Hampshire.
Fred Norris- An English coal-miner who came to the United States on a track scholarship, Norris won the race in 1962, at the age of 40, with a then-course record time of 1:04:57. That time remained the course record until 1977, and it stayed on the books as the master’s record until it was finally broken in 2001. His time is still the 9th fastest ever run by anyone over the age of 40, and he remains the oldest man ever to win the race.
The Mt. Washington Road Race was first held in 1936 and continued in 1937 and 1938. It was forgotten during World War II but then resumed in 1961 for the centennial of the opening of the Mt. Washington Carriage Road, now the Mt. Washington Auto Road. After a three-year hiatus, the race has been run continuously since 1966. In its history the race has hosted some of the greatest names in running, such as Olympic gold medalist Joan Samuelson and Boston Marathon winners John J Kelley and Jacqueline Gareau.
In 2010 the Mt. Washington Road Race will serve as the USA Track and Field Mountain Running Championship. This will mark the fourth time USATF has selected the Mt. Washington race as a national championship event. The top six American male and top four American female finishers will become members of the U.S. National Mountain Running team, which will compete in the World Mountain Trophy later this year.
In addition to the induction ceremony for the inaugural Hall of Fame class, other activities during the Friday festivities, focusing on the 50th Mt. Washington Road Race, will include naming the 50 memorable runners and 50 memorable moments in the race's history.