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

1979 Report

67 degrees at 6:00 a.m., humidity 97%; by 8:00 it was up to 70 and the sun was shining brightly. Jeff Mittelhauser won the 20th annual Heart of America Marathon with the fifth fastest time on record, 2:34:08, only one second behind the mark posted by Barry Crawford in 1966 and equalled by Tony Rodiez in 1976. The only other better times are the course record 2:29:15 set by Dennis Hinkamp in 1977 and Denton Childs' 2:33:04 of last year. Mittelhauser is a second-year law student and a parttime employee of MFA Insurance Companies, the major financial sponsor of the race. MFA finally gave up on Joe Duncan or Jean Madden ever winning this race so they got some new blood and he didn't let' em down.

Jon Herbert was the early leader, 200 yards ahead at times until Steve Fisher, Mittelhauser's Sedalia Striders teammate, took over at about ten miles. Behind Fisher were Mittelhauser and a group of four runners, but Mittelhauser broke away from this pack and was within 50 yards of Fisher to the bottom of Easley Hill. However, Fisher stormed up the hill picking up 20 more seconds and Mittelhauser began thinking about second place. Results, however, are not decided so neatly on the Heart of America course. Fisher was cramping in his thighs going downhill at 19 miles. At 22 miles Fisher was in trouble and his two-and-a-half minute lead began to crumble. At about 24 miles Mittelhauser went by, offered a tie, but Fisher said he didn't think he would be able to make it on in, and he didn't. Up to 15 miles both runners were on record pace (at 15 Hinkamp was 1:26:00, Fisher 1:24:34 and Mittelhauser 1:25:10); in fact, no one has ever run the first half of the course as fast as the Sedalia duo. Hinkamp was 1:15 00 at halfway, Fisher was 1:14:00 and Mittelhauser 1:14:30. But this fast early pace, and the hot sun took its toll.

Finishing second was Robert Steven Cline of Burlington, Iowa who was three minutes behind Mittelhauser as late as 21 miles, but he cut that margin in half by the finish.

Third and shattering Ben Londeree's age-40 record of 2:49:55, was Roger Rouiller of Chicago. Rouiller turned in a remarkable 2:36:07, to post an age-40 standard that would have won most of the previous marathons. Rouiller is a New Balance shoe rep, has run 55 marathons, one of which was on a treadmill. He claims to hold the world record for a treadmill marathon: 2:35+, as fast as the treadmill would go.

Joe Marks also beat that age-40 mark with his 2:48:32 in one of the most notable CTC performances. Otherwise, Ben Welch was first for CTC. Paige Butler, an UMC sophomore, won the women's title, bettering her last years performance by some 13 minutes. Butler is from Baton Rouge, LA,so her summer running of six miles a day, with an occasional 10 -12 mile run, in the heat and humidity of Louisiana got her ready for this race. Mickey Owen, the former Brooklyn Dodger catcher, now Sheriff of Greene County, became the oldest finisher ever, at age 63. Bob Chapin, 47, had a fine first marathon; 100 mile walks seem to be good preparation for HOA.