of America Marathon
Notes by Bill Clark
Albert Barry Crawford, a 29-yearČold ex-Kansas University distance runner and more recent of Southern Illinois University, was the winner of the seventh Annual Heart of America Marathon sponsored every Labor Day in Columbia by the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department.
Crawford, who stands 5-8 and weighs 135, outraced defending champion Ron Daws of the Twin Cities Track Club of Minneapolis in the record time of 2:34:07 . Daws was second in 2:37:17. Crawford took over the lead from Bob Mohler of Wichita, KS, just past the nine-mile mark and was never headed as he navigated up the steep hills with the same sureness with which he fled over the flats. Everyone waited for Daws to sweep to the front at the usual 18-mile mark, but he could never close on the winner. Earl Eblen, running his first marathon since the 1965 HOA race, was third in a very fine 2:39:59.
Crawford was running in only his third marathon and in his second serious attempt. He was fifth in the Cherry Tree Marathon in Washington in 2:39-plus in February. He tried the Boston race earlier in his career, but did not finish. The new champion is a most talented winner. He earned a BA in philosophy from the University of Kansas, took an MA in philosophy form Michigan and finally, just completed his Ph.D at SIU. He will be teaching this year in the Philosophy Dept. at the University of Colorado.
The race was off at 6:01 a.m., in darkness and with the temperature at 58 degrees an unseasonably low, but pleasantly comfortable, temperature. The race was run under cloudless skies and finished with the temperature only in the high 60's. The cool morning proved to be a refreshing change and 48 of 52 runners finished the race, an outstanding effort for a finely trained field.
Six miles of the course is over gravel and dirt surface and the gravel was very rough. The road had not been graded recently and the rocks were loose in the road. There were
many complaints, but when a vote was taken at the victory dinner about changing the race course, the runners voted to the man to keep the same course and try to get a blade on the road prior to the race. All agreed that the course is a fine test without being ridiculous.
The youngest competitor and first Missourian was Skip Brown, a 17-year-old North Kansas City High School student. He came
home 20th in 3:02:50.