June 16, 2012

Blake Finishes Third at Mount Washington: "I'm Back!"

Head men's and women's cross country/track and field coach Eric Blake ran to a third place finish in the 2012 Mount Washington Road Race on Saturday.  Blake, who ran injured in 2011 and finished ninth, returned to the top three in 2012 with an impressive race.

STEVE McLAUGHLIN'S PHOTO GALLERY

Taken from the Official Mount Washington Press Release:
...just ahead of de Gasperi was the hottest battle of the day, as Randall found himself shoulder-to-shoulder with Central Connecticut University coach and two-time Mt. Washington champion Eric Blake of New Britain, Conn. Blake, 33, had run this race last year with a torn hamstring, undergone surgery for it last July, and resumed running only in December.

"I'm back!" he exclaimed in jubilation at the finish, having powered ahead of Randall just before the daunting 22 percent grade that marks the final 70 yards of the course. "I had two goals today – to make the team, and to win. I got one of them. But when Sage took off he looked strong. It was his race." Blake took third happily in one hour and 54 seconds.

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This year marked the eighth time that Blake has competed in the race.  He has never finished out of the top-10.  The Mt. Washington Auto Road covers 7.6 miles of pavement and packed gravel, the road is completely uphill with the finish line at an elevation of 6,288 feet.  In elevation the road ascends 4,727 feet between the starting gate and the finish line.  The average grade of the course is 12% with the final 100 yards covering a grueling 22% incline.

 Blake had been extremely successful in his eight trips up Mt. Washington.  In 2004, he turned in a fourth place finish in his first start at the event.  Since then Blake has run the race every year, except 2007.  Blake's victories came in 2006 and 2008.  He was the runner-up in 2009 and 2010 and has a third silver medal from the 2005 race.   This year marks his second third place finish, and his sixth time in the top-three.

A veteran of the United States Mountain Running team, Blake has run some of the most difficult courses around the world.

Top men's finishers:

1.  Sage Canaday, 26, Sheridan, Ore., and Boulder, Colo., 58:27
2.  Joseph Gray, 28, Newcastle, Wash., 1:00:33
3.  Eric Blake, 33, New Britain, Conn., 1:00:54
4.  Glenn Randall, 25, Mesa, Colo., 1:00:58
5.  Marco deGasperi, 35, Bormio, Italy, 1:01:38
6.  Tommy Manning, 36, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1:01:52
7.  Tim Chichester, 23, Mount Morris, N.Y., 1:02:06
8.  Max King, 32, Bend, Ore., 1:02:21
9.  Simon Gutierrez, 46, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1:02:24
10. Alex Nichols, 27, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1:02:41