Head men's and women's cross country and track and field coach Eric Blake returned to the top of the mountain on Saturday, literally. Blake captured his third first place finish in the annual Mt. Washington Road Race on Saturday. Blake ran the race in 59 minutes and 57 seconds, breaking his own personal record by 40 seconds. Blake also won the race in 2006 and 2008.
Steve McLaughlin was in Front of Blake the Whole Way (Photo Gallery)
Lori Riley Follows Blake and Writes About it in the Courant
This year marked the ninth 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 nine 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 other 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. He has three third-place finishes, including 2012, and has finished in the top-three seven times in nine atempts.
A veteran of the United States Mountain Running team, Blake has run some of the most difficult courses around the world.