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7.6 miles, 1 very big hill: Runners gather for annual climb up Mount Washington

Joe Gray of Colorado Springs won the 2024 Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race on June 15, 2024. It was his eighth victory in the 7.6 mile run up the Mount Washington Auto Road. Dan Tuohy photo / NHPR
Dan Tuohy
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NHPR
Joe Gray of Colorado Springs won the 2024 Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race on June 15, 2024. It was his eighth victory in the 7.6 mile run up the Mount Washington Auto Road.

Joe Gray won the Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race on Saturday for his eighth victory in the iconic foot race.

Gray, of Colorado Springs, now holds the record for the most wins in the race up the Mount Washington Auto Road.

Kayla Lampe of Shelburne Falls, Mass., won the Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race on June 15, 2024. Dan Tuohy photo / NHPR
Dan Tuohy
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NHPR
Kayla Lampe of Shelburne Falls, Mass., won the Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race on June 15, 2024. Dan Tuohy photo / NHPR

Kayla Lampe of Shelburne Falls, Mass., won the women’s field.

Joe Gray midway on Mount Washington on his way to his eighth victory in the Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race on June 15, 2024. Dan Tuohy photo / NHPR.
Dan Tuohy
/
NHPR
Joe Gray midway on Mount Washington on his way to his eighth victory in the Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race on June 15, 2024. Dan Tuohy photo / NHPR.

It is a 7.6 mile run and, as racegoers celebrate with intended irony, there is only one hill.

Runners in the 2024 Mount Washington Road Race reach the final steep pitch before the finish at the summit. Dan Tuohy photo / NHPR
Dan Tuohy
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NHPR
Runners in the 2024 Mount Washington Road Race reach the final steep pitch before the finish at the summit. Dan Tuohy photo / NHPR

Many runners, after crossing the finish line, keep going a bit farther to the very summit of Mount Washington, elevation, 6,288.

Adam Cook of Melrose, Mass., was among the many Mount Washington Road Race finishers June 15, 2024 to walk a short distance more to get to the tip top of the summit of Mount Washington. Dan Tuohy photo / NHPR
Dan Tuohy
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NHPR
Adam Cook of Melrose, Mass., was among the many Mount Washington Road Race finishers June 15, 2024 to walk a short distance more to get to the tip top of the summit of Mount Washington. Dan Tuohy photo / NHPR

Adam Cook of Melrose, Mass., completed his first Mount Washington Road Race. He said he did not know what to expect, but focused on pace and pushing himself on the higher elevations of the course.

"I'm just thankful that I could give it my all," he said.

Afterward, wrapped in an orange blanket given to racers at the summit, Cook made his way to the summit marker for photos. And then he carefully — and slowly — crouched over to kneel and kiss the rock at this feet.

Dan is a long-time New Hampshire journalist who has written for outlets including Foster's Daily Democrat, The Citizen of Laconia, The Boston Globe, and The Eagle-Tribune. He comes to NHPR from the New Hampshire Union Leader, where he reported on state, local, and national politics.
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