Race’s Hall of Fame honors Eric Blake (W. Hartford, CT), Eleonora Mendonca (Cape Cod, MA), Eric Morse (Berlin, VT) , and Peter Watson (Cape Ann, MA)
June 15, 2015 — Pinkham Notch, NH
Next week’s Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race has a record seven Hall of Fame members entered. Two new members will join past inductees Jacqueline Gareau, Keith Woodward, Simon Gutierrez, Dave Dunham, and Craig Fram on the starting line for the “Race to the Clouds”.
Formed in 2010 to recognize outstanding performers in and contributors to this footrace to the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States, the Hall of Fame this year will pay tribute to the achievements in a ceremony at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road on Saturday, June 20. The ceremony will take place after the 2015 Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race which starts at 9 a.m. The race attracts 1300 runners who will make their way up the 154-year-old Auto Road.
The 2015 Mount Washington Hall of Fame inductees:
Eric Blake is a 3-time winner of the race, taking the top spot in 2006, 2008, and 2013. He owns the state record for CT (59:57) and NY (61:07) and is one of only eight people to have ever run under sixty minutes. No one has run more times under 1:02 than Eric who has done so eight times. Eric currently works as the head men’s and women’s Track & Field/Cross-Country coach at Central Connecticut State University. He resides in West Hartford CT. Eric notes that his most memorable moment at Mt Washington was his win and sub-60 minute effort in 2013. “I had my wife and a lot of friends and family there watching so it was a pretty special day”. Eric is still at the top of his game and “feel(s) I can run faster and still want a few more wins!” Tops among Eric’s many accomplishments beyond the Mt Washington road race are his world record for a marathon on a treadmill (2:21) and being a scoring member of the 2010 USA Mountain running team which took home a silver medal at the World championships. Eric has had to pull out of this year’s race due to injury but we know he will be back in 2016.
Eleonora Mendonca had three consecutive wins from 1976-1978. She set the course record in 1977 and again in 1978. She and Hall of Famer Chris Maisto are the only women to have set course records multiple times. She recalls “I could not pass the opportunity to do a different type of race – only one hill. I could not forget the incredible view as I approached the summit…The beauty carried me on”. She was inducted into the Cambridge Sports Union Hall of Fame in 2000. The CSU website notes “Ellie joined Cambridge Sports Union in 1974 and had an immediate impact on the women’s running scene in greater Boston by being a top finisher in road, track and cross-country races”. Her biggest accomplishment was to qualify (for Brazil) at the Los Angles Olympic Games where she ran in the first women’s marathon. Eleonora is retired and currently living on Cape Cod.
Eric Morse is possibly the most prolific runner to not have an overall win at Mt Washington. He has the Vermont state record for this race with his 1:01:09 from 1999. He is tied for the third most top 10 finishes with fourteen and is also tied for fourth with ten top five finishes. He ranks 14th in all-time earnings at Mt Washington taking home $4,200. He scored on course record setting teams (Central Mass Striders) an amazing nine times, setting course records five times on the open squad and four times on the masters. He has finished the race sixteen times, including three times as runner-up. Eric was inducted into athletic Hall of Fame at Harwood High School (Moretown, VT) in 2010 as “one of the most successful athletes in Harwood cross-country and track-and-field history. As a junior, he won four Vermont state championships…as a senior, Eric won two state championships… (and) was a member of the first hockey team at Harwood”. His most memorable moment at Mt Washington was the “halfway race” of 2002 where he finished in second place, 10 seconds out of the win. His many accomplishments outside of Mt Washington include being a 7-time member of the USA Mountain running team. He has quite a range of ability from a sub-4 minute mile to a 1:03 half-marathon. Eric is a graphic designer residing in Berlin, VT. In recent years he has excelled at racing with his West Highland Terrier “Murdoch”. They have won nearly every race they’ve entered and can boast personal bests of 4:59 for the mile and 16:44 for 5km. Eric is entered in this year’s race but may be hampered by a nagging injury.
Peter Watson – Peter, who passed away in 2012, ran the race 23 times from 1988-2011. He was the supreme organizer of Team Gloucester (TG), which annually accounts for an impressive number of runners in the field. He created the Mt. Washington Practice Run in Rockport, where he lived, and he organized it year after year. He publicized the race every way possible, from the newspapers he published to the word-of-mouth network that extended from him to thousands of people in many directions, but especially around Cape Ann, Mass. He dedicated large amounts of time and energy to promoting the race to all. He inspired, encouraged and led Team Gloucester to form as an official club. Each year he would email every runner he knew when the lottery would open. To get more runners past the lottery he offered to provide volunteers. Peter always organized and planned who would volunteer and supervised to make sure it was done well. He kept detailed records of each TG member’s races up the Mountain and compared times to previous year. He cajoled runners into competing on behalf of TG and generally orchestrated everything they did relative to the Mountain race. He is the reason for the strong TG women’s presence at the mountain to this day.
The Mt. Washington Road Race Hall of Fame recognizes athletic performance at the MWRR or efforts to assist the Race or promote it. Consideration is given to athletes, advocates, race staff members or volunteers. Inductees are chosen by a vote of the Hall of Fame committee from a longer list of nominees compiled by December 31 of the preceding year.
The Saturday afternoon Hall of Fame induction will precede the race’s award ceremony. The induction ceremony will start at 1 p.m. in the large tent at the base of the Auto Road, on Route 16 just north of Pinkham Notch.
The public is invited.
Past Hall of Fame members:
Bob Hodge (2010)
Anna Pichrtova (2010)
Gary Crossan (2010)
Fred Norris (2010)
Mike Gallagher (2011)
Derek Froude (2011)
Daniel Kihara (2011)
Matt Carpenter (2012)
Jacqueline Gareau (2012)
Christine Maisto (2012)
Keith Woodward (2012)
J’ne Day-Lucore (2013)
Jonathan Wyatt (2013)
Bob Teschek (2013)
Simon Gutierrez (2013)
Dave Dunham (2014)
Craig Fram (2014)
Regularly updated information about the Mt. Washington Road Race Hall of Fame is available any time on the new website at: http://mwrrhalloffame.com/
Other HOF sites include: Facebook (facebook.com/mwrrhof), Twitter (twitter.com/mwrrrecords) and the Records/Hall of Fame blog (mtwashingtonrecords.blogspot.com ). For other information about the race, visit www.mountwashingtonroadrace.com.