NH runners rose to the occasion
Thanks to his excellent aerobic capacity and his previous years' experience running as well as skiing on the Auto Road, Freeman Saturday made the ascent to the 6,288-foot summit in 1 hour, 6 minutes, 52 seconds, good not only for eighth place overall in a field led by the nation's best mountain runners but also fast enough to win the Crossan Cup, which is awarded each year to the first male and female finishers from New Hampshire. Freeman's brother, Kris, a three-time Nordic skiing Olympian, was the second Granite Stater to finish, in 1:08.19.
"I'm a New Hampshire girl, and this is my mountain," Dannis said after the race, "but I had no idea how I'd do here. My goal was simply to run every step."
"I'm thrilled to be the first New Hampshire finisher!" Dannis said before taking a ride back down the Auto Road's base to the awards ceremony.
Two top-tier Rocky Mountain runners, three seasoned runners from Massachusetts and a New York City artist were the only women ahead of Dannis. Fastest of the bunch — by far, as it turned out — was 45-year-old mountain running veteran Laura Haefeli of Del Norte, Colo.
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