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

1968 Report

From the Columbia Daily Tribune:

Veteran Hal Higdon, a 37-year-old free lance writer and teacher who has raced over the world's greatest marathon layouts, won the Heart of America Marathon on his first try, coming from behind in a carefully planned performance to nip Carl Owczarzak, the preČrace favorite, in a time of 2:41:44, more than seven minutes off the course record. Owczarzak, a Kansas City, KS. teacher, took second and Ken Katzer of Lincoln, NE was third in yesterday's 26-mile, 385-yard grind through southern Boone County and the streets of Columbia.

Higdon methodically overtook Owczarzak at 24 miles on what had become Heartbreak Hill to the marathoners who come here annually. He passed Owczarzak on the hill just west of the University of Missouri's Memorial Stadium and rambled home a winner by almost a minute.

Higdon was elated with his performance over what he termed the best marathon course of them all. He was a bit disappointed at his time, but explained that he had gone out too slow to crack Barry Crawford's course record of 2:34:07.

The marathon was filled with personal glory for a variety of runners. Dave Duncan, who starts junior high today, will never forget the race. The 11-year-old seventh-grader started alongside his father, Joe, and planned to run and walk 15 miles. When he had not been tired at 15 miles, he continued on, and despite sore ankles and blisters, he decided to go all the way. Young Dave, undoubtedly the youngest marathoner in history, ambled in after battling the distance for 7 hours, 20 minutes, 29 seconds. Daddy Joe, a distance veteran, had been forced out with severe cramps at 23+ miles.

The over-40 class was taken by Dr. Alex Ratelle, 43-yearČold physician from Minneapolis, MN, breaking the three-hour barrier with a time of 2:57:27. Another Minnesotan, 57-yearČold Bill Andberg, won the over-50 class. The Anoka, MN, veterinarian raced like a youngster in 3:17:32.

Columbia's joggers had their moments, too. Sid Larson, art director at Christian College, had watched Lincoln University's Larry Carpenter lap him all year in track races at Hickman High. Carpenter cramped at 18 miles and, within a mile of the finish, Larson, with his face sporting an ear-toČear grin, thumped past the laboring Carpenter. Bill Wickersham, a mere 34, was the first Columbian across the line, finishing 23rd in 3:41:21. Also making the entire distance were John Mitchell and Murrell Jackson, a pair of joggers who hadn't realized their bones could travel that far.