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Northfield Mountain Snowshoe race

Northfield, MA, February 5, 2005

[Overall results | USSSA results | Team results | Age Group Results ]

Sneak Peek at Dave's book (The Mt Washington Road race)

Sunday August 13, 1961 1:30 PM

Sunday August 13, 1961 1:30 PM


Weather conditions for the re-vamped race featured sixty degree temperatures at the base and thirty-four at the summit.  Winds just under 60 MPH blew up sand from the road and mixed with clouds and fog to make the skies very dark at the finish line.  Jock Semple took over as the Race Director on this 100th anniversary of the opening of the Carriage road.  The race was co-sponsored by the Berlin Athletic Boosters and the Mt Washington Centennial committee. 


At the start Semple noted “President Kennedy wanted men to be fit, not dead, so please quit at the halfway house if you are in tough shape”.  Bagpiper Bob Cummings played prior to the start and sent the runners off.  All 79 finishers came in under the 2:15 time limit.  The top five all finished under the 1938 course record of Francis Darrah.


This was the first year that runner did not have to “negotiate the dozens of steps at the top” noted Semple who called John Kelley “the wing footed school teacher from Mystic CT”.  Kelley broke from Larry Damon, the National AAU and New England 10m champion, to win by 1.5 minutes.  Kelley was the 1957 BAA marathon champion, among his many accomplishments.


Billy Squires mentioned in his article titled “Run to the Clouds” that “Three weeks before …I was called on the phone by Jock Semple…about a mountain run 8 ¼ miles up a dirt road to the summit of famous Mt Washington.  I thought this was a joke at first, but soon he explained that 25 years ago they held a race and…this year wanted a renewal of the race”.  Squires stated “I have always had a desire for a challenge.  In track competition thare are many, but here was a real test of human fortitude.  He trained with teammates Jerry Harvey and Ken Mueller, who drove the 5 hours from Boston the day before.  The group camped out at the base and had a typical for the times (?) breakfast of “oatmeal, soft boiled eggs, two orders of toast, and tea.”   Squires and teammates applied Vaseline “for protection against the cold and wind”.  At the halfway point he was in 16th place despite trouble with a calf muscle that caused him to walk.  Above the treeline he “walked again, putting on my sweat shirt that I had wished I had left behind me in the first mile.  It now turned out to be a welcome friend”.    He was later hit by wind gusts of up to 92 MPH and found “a gust of wind hit us and we fell”.  At the finish he “grabbed a blanket held by Bob Campbell, one of the officials and a good friend, then walked for a few minutes, after which I flopped into a car for the descent to the starting point.”  Squires finished 13th and his training partners finished 15th (Harvey) and 6th (Mueller).


At the awards ceremony Russ Foster, the son of George Foster, presented the Foster trophy as Francis Darrah looked on.  The top 10 received trophies with a special Mt Washington Carriage Road Centennial medallion.  10th to 15th place received silver medals, and all finisher got a buffet lunch.  The crowd of spectators at the race was estimated to be over 1,200.  Mike O’Hara of St Anthony’s finished 34th in 1:30:46, he was the only recorded finisher from the 1930’s to run.  Team results were not given, however the BAA placed five in the top 6 (and 13 in the top 28).  The combined time for the top 5 BAA runners was an excellent 6:02:47, it would be another 16 years before a squad would run faster.  North Medford club had a combined time of 7:12:59.  


Later in the day a half-inch of snowfall was recorded on the summit.


4th Mt Washington Road Race

Pl         Name                           Club                Time

1          John J            Kelley             BAA                1:08:54

2          Larry Damon             BAA                1:10:33

3          Duane Merchant            BAA                1:13:02

4          Angus Wooten                        Electric boat            1:13:07

5          Al Confalone                    BAA                1:14:34

6          Ken Mueller                       BAA                1:15:44

7          Gordon            McKenzie       NYPC              1:16:12

8          George Terry               Electric boat            1:16:33

9          Dick Vehlow                                                1:17:13

10        Bill Smith               BAA                1:18:19

11        Erkki Kaunisto                      Reipas AC            1:18:30

12        Bob Cummings                    NMC               1:21:11

13        Bill Squires                        BAA                1:21:21

14        Wayne Lamothe            NMC               1:21:39

15        Jerry Harvey             BAA                1:22:25

16        Bob Zollinhoffer            BAA                1:24:06

17        Stan Tiernan                        NMC               1:24:12

18        Al Meehan                                                1:24:15

19        George            Cushmac        NETC              1:25:11

20        Raimo Ahti                 Reipas AC            1:25:24

21        Don Fay                  BAA                1:25:36

22        Tony Sapienza                      BAA                1:26:46

23        Dick Clapp              NY Pioneer            1:26:53

24        John DiComandrea            BAA                1:27:02

25        Bob Schrader                                              1:27:04

26        Ralph Eilberg                        Del-Val AA            1:27:47

27        Greg Bigelow                      Central CT AA            1:28:11

28        Dick Packard                       BAA                1:28:25

29        Bob Powers                                                1:28:28

30        Bill Shrader                                                1:28:53

31        Dick Moseley                                              1:28:56

32        Tom Sanders                                               1:29:07

33        Ron Dwyer                                     1:29:55

34        Mike O'Hara             St Anthony's            1:30:46

35            Graham Parnell                     Spartan AC            1:31:03

36        Bob Avery              Spartan AC            1:31:19

37        Royce Sawyer                        NMC               1:31:21

38        Ed Ouellette                      Maine              1:32:06

39        Sumner Sears               Lynn AC            1:32:16

40        Erik Erickson                      BAA                1:32:33

41        Bill Norris              England                      1:33:16

42        Sam Ouellette                      Maine              1:33:52

43        Carlton Comstock            NMC               1:34:36

44        Dave Buddington            BAA                1:34:51


Sunday July 15th 1962

5th Mt Washington Road Race

For the first time the race was not run in August, moving to the third Sunday in July.  John Kelley was a pre-race favorite in the field of 64 entrants.  The race was sanctioned by the AAU and a strong field was expected to give Kelley a run.  Fred Norris a 40 year old carpenter from England was among the favorites.  He had been working out with Kelley prior to the race.  The event was sponsored by the white Mountain Recrration Association and Jock Semple of the BAA was the race director.  According to Kelley’s account of the race in New England Runner Norris and Kelley “ground out a slowly windingi lead on the up and coming Duane merchart after trading leads with him through the first two miles”.  After ½ way Norris began to pull away.  Kelley heard him “call(s) out over his shoulder, ‘Does this keep on like this all the way?’”  Soon after Norris pulled away for good in the sleet and fog shrouded Summit.  Norris became the first runner to break 65 minutes, a feat which would not be matched for another 15 years.  Kelley ran the 2nd fastest time and as such the fastest losing time to date.  No team results were given (I was only able to get the top 10 finishers) however the BAA had 5 in the top ten for a combined time of 6:07:52.  A record 80 runners finished.  Earlier in the year (according to Not without Peril) “six Polaris Sno-Travelers made a successful ascent of Mt Washington”.  These were the early version of snowmobiles.


Pl         Name                           Club                Time                Age            St            City

1          Fred Norris                                      1:04:57                      40            MA            Brockton

2          John Kelley             BAA                1:08:28                      31            CT            Groton

3          Duane Merchant            BAA                1:11:17                      19            MA            Dennisport

4          Al Confalone                    BAA                1:12:08                                  MA            Wakefield

5          George Waterhouse                             1:15:47                                             

6          Gerry Harvey             BAA                1:16:12                                                         

7            Richard Clapp                       NY Pioneer            1:17:21                                  NY                 

8          Rod MacMichell            NY Pioneer            1:18:19                                  NY                 

9            William Schab                       NYAC             1:19:04                                  NY                 

10            Richard          Packard            BAA                1:19:47                                             



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