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Columbia Track Club

Heart of America Marathon, since 1960, held on Labor Day in Columbia, Missouri, Elevation 560' to 806'.

Registration for the 62nd running of the Heart of America Marathon - the 2nd oldest continuously running marathon in the U.S. - and 2nd Annual Fun Team Relay (to be held on Labor Day, September 6th , 2021) will open February 14th, 2021.

** Please note:** registration limits, activities, plans and so forth are all dependent on guidelines and restrictions imposed by Health and City officials. Therefore, the plans below are hoped for, but are also subject to change.

Heart of America Marathon
Labor Day, since 1960 heart2.gif (4940 bytes) Columbia, Missouri

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Before registering for the Historic Heart of America Marathon please make note of what others have said about this race below. This marathon has the reputation of being tough.

Most loved parts:

  • Easley Hill
  • Running on the Katy Trail along the Missouri River
  • Trail/Gravel Roads, (approx. 5.5 miles gravel roads) rural feel
  • Community support
  • Running past Pierpont General Store and their aid station
  • Running past Cooper's Landing and their aid station
  • Historic
  • Hometown feel
  • Low on frill
  • Challenging
  • Special awards instead of age group awards
  • Heat, hills and humidity
Most hated parts:
  • Easley Hill
  • Trail/Gravel roads, (approx. 5.5 miles gravel roads) rural feel
  • Philips Lake turn around ("Why, just why??)
  • Roundabouts - 4 of 'em, and no cutting across. You run 4 roundabouts.
  • 6 hr cut off - Firm.
  • Low on frill ("What? No Gu?" - "That's right. Plan your own nutrition")
  • The 14 Aid stations are not evenly spaced (check map and locations prior to race to plan)
  • Open course, traffic on Rt. K and Rt. N
  • Challenging
  • No age group awards
  • Heat, hills and humidity
Before registering, please note:
  1. 6 hour cut off - (marathon and relay)
  2. Approximately 5.5 miles of the course is on well-maintained gravel roads/trail
  3. There are roundabouts. The course goes around them in a clockwise fashion on the sidewalk.
  4. This is no-frill. 14 Aid Stations (one more than 2020) are provided with water and/or Gatorade. No nutrition is provided.
  5. There is an out-and-back toward the end of the race at Philips Lake. It is unshaded and known to be a tough stretch. (specifically, miles 22-25)
  6. Pacing is not allowed. No bicycles pacing runners
  7. Open course with some narrow, winding roads (Route N). Runners must run single file.
  8. Non-race-sanctioned drive-alongs or ride-alongs (bicycles) are not allowed.
  9. Wheelchair users should be aware that this course contains 5.5 miles of gravel road/trail, significant inclines, and declines, begins in the dark, is not a closed course, and significant parts of the course are run on roads with no shoulders.
Race Day Instructions and Information: PDF MS Word COVID Plan: PDF MS Word
Starting Time: 6:00 a.m. central daylight savings time (CDT), the first Monday in September
Location Address: Boone County History and Culture Center (Nifong Park), 3801 Ponderosa St, Columbia, MO 65201
Course Description: 26.2 miles starting at the Boone County History and Culture Center at Nifong Park, running 11 miles down to the Katy Trail, (formerly the MKT Trail Line, now part of the U.S Rails-to Trails system) for 1.5 miles along the scenic Missouri River, past Cooper's Landing and the historic community of Easley, from where Easley Hill (Route N) affectionately takes its name. Picturesque rural landscape abounds along the winding uphill Route N. Passing the Pierpont General Store, a building which has stood since 1889, the course skirts Rock Bridge State Park before heading back toward Columbia, to Phillips Lake, then back to the Boone County History and Culture Center.

**Please note, approximately 5.5 miles of the course is on well-maintained gravel roads/trail to include Smith Hatchery Rd, the Katy Trail, East Bonne Femme Church Rd and South Gans Creek Rd. This is an open course. Runners must run single file on trafficked roads.

Fun Team Relay: In 2019 we introduced the Fun Team Relay. Due to Covid19, we were not able to have it in 2020. It is our plan to once again have the Fun Team Relay in 2021. In 2021 we will have a limit of 50 teams. The relay course follows the same course as the marathon, therefore the same course information given above applies to the relay as well. Relay teams may have 2 - 4 members who work together to complete the traditional marathon course. Relay legs are 4 miles (Start to Rock Bridge Elementary), 7.5 miles (Rock Bridge Elementary to Cooper's Landing), 6.9 miles (Cooper's Landing to Pierpont General Store), and 7.8 miles (Pierpont General Store to Finish).
Entry Fee: 2021 Fun Team Relay Pricing - Number of teams limited to 50

February 14th - July 4th - $125.00 per team

July 5th - July 31st - $150.00

August 1st - August 14th - $200.00

Teams must be registered by August 14th.

No Fun Team Relay registrations accepted after August 14th.

2021 Marathon Pricing - Be aware that while we do not currently have a registration limit in place for the marathon, circumstances could dictate a need to impose a limit at any given time (this happened in 2020).

February 14th - July 4th - $65.00

July 5th - July 31st - $75.00

August 1st - August 14th - $85.00

August 15th - August 29th - $130.00

No marathon registrations accepted after Aug. 29th. THERE IS NO RACE DAY REGISTRATION.

2021 - Refund Policy: 100% refund (registration fee only - not processing fees) if dropped by midnight Aug. 14th. 50% refund (registration fee only - not processing fees) if dropped after midnight Aug. 14th. Registrants may also choose to donate or defer.

Fitness for Event/Medical: This event is not recommended for participants under 16 years old. No one should attempt this race without proper training and medical advice. There will be medical support on the course and at the finish line. Boone County Fire will stage just over half-way through the course at Nashville Baptist Church. Any runner must retire from the race at once if directed to do so by an event official or physician. A sweep vehicle will pick up runners who are not able to complete the marathon in the allotted time: THERE IS A SIX HOUR TIME LIMIT; the finish area will close at noon. Please do not ask us to extend the cutoff.
Registration/More Information: Runsignup | Who's Registered?
Chip Timing provided by: Kinetic Timing
Packet Pickup: Sunday from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. and Labor Day from 5:00 - 5:30 a.m. at Boone County History and Culture Center (Nifong Park), 3801 Ponderosa St, Columbia, MO 65201. No shirt swapping. Questions: CoMoHeart1960 (gmail)
Information/Contact: "Like" Heart of America on Facebook for updates and to send messages, or email the race directors at CoMoHeart1960 (gmail)
Aid Stations: Aid stations will be stocked with water and ice. Sports drink will also be available at Cooper's Landing, Pierpont General Store, and Shooting Star Trailhead.
  1. State Farm (Mile 3)
  2. Rock Bridge Elementary (Mile 4)
  3. Route k and Old Plank (Mile 7)
  4. Smith hatchery/Dothage Road (Mile 9.7)
  5. Cooper's Landing (Mile 12)
  6. Bottom of Easley Hill (Mile 12.5)
  7. Sapp/Nashville Baptist Church (Mile 15)
  8. Burton & Hutchens - 8802 S Route N (mile 16.5)
  9. Pierpont Store - Intersection of 163 and N (Mile 18)
  10. Shooting Star Trailhead (Mile 20)
  11. Conservation Office East Gans Road (Mile 22)
  12. Philips Lake (Mile 23) 0800-1130
  13. Tolton High School (Mile 24.5)
  14. Aria Apartments (Mile 25)
Portable Toilets: Toilet facilities will be located at the Start line, Rock Bridge Elementary (Mile 4), Rt K/Old Plank turnoff (mile 7) , Cooper's Landing (nearing Mile 12), Nashville Church/Sapp (Mile 15), Pierpont General Store, Shooting Star Trailhead (Mile 20), Philips Lake (Mile 23) and the Finish area (park bathrooms)
Post Race: To be determined. We hope to bring back fun, spectators, activities, our Vendor Village, have an award ceremony and food/refreshment. More details to follow.
Awards: Marathon: Overall Awards M/F 1st, 2nd and 3rd place will be given, and Overall Awards M/F 1st, 2nd and 3rd place Masters.

Fun Team Relay: Overall 1st, 2nd and 3rd place will be given. Whichever team crosses the line 1st, 2nd, and 3rd receives the award regardless of gender or number of team members.

The Dave Schulte Award for Improved Performance will be awarded to the runners M/F who most improves his/her time from a previous personal best of under 5:00. Dave Schulte was a charter member of the Columbia Track Club and its first Secretary-Treasurer. Dave died of melanoma cancer in December, 1973. He was one of those persons who never had any thought of winning any race or even any age group award. His main objective was personal improvement and he strove mightily to achieve that in many CTC races. For many years he was in charge of results for the marathon and he was the first person to get an accurate measurement of the course with a bicycle and Jones Counter.

The Joe Schroeder Award (new in 2019)! Entrants who will run HOA as their first marathon will be eligible to win this award. The male and female from the first-timer marathoner field who cross the finish line first will be recipients of the Schroeder Award. Joe Schroeder ran his first marathon and was the winner of the first Heart of America Marathon in 1960. Running the original course from Columbia to Fulton in his cross country shoes and putting tape over the spikes to cushion his feet against city concrete, Joe finished in an impressive 3:57. His longest run previously had been 6 miles. Joe also ran the second HOA and oversaw timers for many years. Joe was a life-long lover of athletics, and he and his wife, Darlene, were active volunteers in many aspects of the community. Joe and Darlene have four children who all continue to support the Heart of America Marathon.

The Average Joe Award (new in 2021)! This award will be given to the M/F who comes closest to the median time, either above or below, or perhaps, having the exact time as the median. If there is a tie, the award goes to the slowest. The Average Joe Award is given in honor of Joe Duncan - Race Director of HOA for 47 years and an average runner! Joe's first race of any kind, at age 32 was the 1966 HOA, the 7th Annual, with some 2 and a half weeks of "training." Joe has been in 855 races all total. Joe ran 9 HOA, and never ran faster than the median. Joe notes that "median" is not "average", but he thinks the "Average Joe Award" sounds better than the "Mediocre Joe Award"! Joe Duncan is listed in Road Race Management's all time longest serving race directors and as of 2020, held the position of 3rd longest in that list.

Lodging: Towne Place Suites by Marriott, 0.8 miles from the start/finish, is offering group rates for Heart of America Marathon participants. Address: 4400 Nocona Pkwy, Columbia, MO 65201, 573-817-0012.

Use this link to book at this hotel: Book your group rate for Heart of America Marathon (last date to book at special $94 rate - 8/22/20)

Additional hotels and other Columbia information can be found at visitcolumbiamo.com.

Volunteer: Sign up to volunteer at JustServe. Enter our zip code (65201), scroll down, and hit the "show all" button. There are many ways to serve. Be a part of community and history!
The course is USATF certified - # MO19024DG.
Request for accommodations related to disability, please email: Comoheart1960@gmail.com.
In order to assist us in making the appropriate arrangements for your accommodation, please make your request as far in advance of the event date as possible.

Hammer Nutrition sponsor