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Hanover’s Caldwell rallies for tie atop Mt. Washington

  • Hanover native Heidi Caldwell, of Craftsbury Common, Vt., approaches the finish line at the Mount Washington Road Race in Pinkham Notch, N.H., on Saturday. Caldwell rallied in the final stretch to catch Brittni Hutton, of Lubbock, Texas, at the finish line. Officials ruled their race a tie. (Randy Zucco photograph)


The Associated Press
Saturday, June 15, 2019

PINKHAM NOTCH, N.H. — The annual race up the highest peak in the northeastern United States ended on Saturday in the first photo finish atop the summit of cold and windy Mount Washington.

Brittni Hutton, 29, of Lubbock, Texas, led the entire race, but Hanover native Heidi Caldwell, 27, of Craftsbury Common, Vt., caught her at the finish line.

Both finished with a time of 1 hour, 16 minutes, 17 seconds in the women’s division of the 7.6-mile race to the 6,288-foot summit. Judges initially thought Hutton had won but later declared a tie upon further review, a spokesman said.

Eric Blake, 40, of West Hartford, Conn., won the men’s division with a time of 1:02:52, besting a Kenyan, Francis Kamiri, 32, by about a minute.

In the women’s race, Hutton was competing for the first time in a mountain race and jumped to a lead that she never relinquished. She said she didn’t realize Caldwell, who finished in second place last year, was creeping up from behind on the final sprint.

“I had no idea she was right there behind me. I told myself I could do it. It felt like lightning struck. I was like, ‘C’mon, you can!’ ” Hutton said.

Race officials said it was the first photo finish in the race’s 59-year history.

The weather was nearly as brutal as the difficult, all-uphill race.

While most of New England was enjoying a pleasant, sunny day, Mount Washington had a temperature of about 37 degrees and gusts of 50 mph at the start of the race.