Pinkham Notch, N.H. – Runners hoping to compete this summer in the Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race can register as soon as Thursday, February 14 for the online lottery that determines the field for this all-uphill footrace. This registration window opened on February 14 at 8 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and closes at11:59 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 14. Runners may enter the lottery by visiting the race web site, www.mountwashingtonroadrace.com.
Attracting many more would-be entrants than the 152-year-old Mt. Washington Auto Road can accommodate, the “Run to the Clouds” is filled each year partly by invitations issued to elite mountain runners but primarily by a computer-generated random selection process open to all comers. The lottery will be held on Friday, March 15, and all applicants will be notified the following day as to whether or not they have gained the opportunity to run 7.6 grueling miles to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States.
The race web site provides all necessary information for registering. A runner may register individually or as part of a team. In the latter case the team’s captain registers the team as a unit, and the lottery then either accepts or rejects the entire team. The entry fee is $80 per person. Registrants enter their credit card numbers on line; the $80 fee is charged to the cards of all accepted applicants.
Increasingly popular despite – or perhaps because of – its ultra-steep grade and Mt. Washington’s notoriously bad weather, the Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race is the premier uphill running event in the eastern U.S. It regularly attracts top American and international mountain runners along with a hard core of seasoned marathoners, track and cross-country runners, Nordic skiers, snowshoe racers, triathletes and others. Former six-time World Mountain Champion Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand holds the men’s course record, 56 minutes 41 seconds, set in 2004. The women’s record was set in 2010 by the young Ethiopian runner Shewarge Amare, who made the ascent in one hour eight minutes 21seconds.
Runners whose recent performances indicate that they may be contenders for top places, or whose past participation in the race has contributed particularly to the event’s charisma, can bypass the lottery and enter the race as invited runners. Entry is also guaranteed for runners who have completed the six other races in the New England “Mountain Goat” race series. All previous winners of the race may enter automatically, and the previous year’s age-group winners are entitled to bypass the lottery.
The race begins at the Auto Road base on Route 16 near Pinkham Notch and climbs to the 6288-foot summit at an average grade of 12 percent and a net altitude gain of 4650 feet. The runners battle not only each other but the sheer force of gravity and Mt. Washington’s famously severe winds.
Based in Concord, NH, Northeast Delta Dental has sponsored the race up the historic Mt. Washington Auto Road since 2001. The dental insurance company’s President & CEO, Tom Raffio, has run the race in a personal best of one hour 50 minutes and 51 seconds. On the occasion of the 2012 “Run to the Clouds,” Northeast Delta Dental increased its already strong support for the event, making it officially the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race.
Fifty percent of all proceeds from the race will be donated to the dental programs of the Coos County Family Health Services. Based in nearby Berlin, NH, this community-based organization provides innovative, personalized, comprehensive health care and social services to everyone, regardless of economic status.