PINKHAM NOTCH, N.H. — The annual race up the highest peak in the northeastern United States ended 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 Heidi Caldwell, 27, of Craftsbury Common, Vermont, caught her at the finish line Saturday.
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 top of Mount Washington. Judges initially thought Hutton had won but later declared a tie upon further review, a spokesman said.
Eric Blake, 40, of West Hartford, Connecticut, 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 59 years of the race.
In the men’s division, Kamiri, who trains in Birmingham, Alabama, also ran the race for the first time. He jumped to an early lead but could not hang onto it.
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.