of America Marathon
A welcome break in the weather. It was 83 degrees at 4:00 a.m. - not very good - but then it began to cool, going down to 77 at the 6:00 a.m. start, humidity 74%. It gradually
cooled more from that point, down to 68 at 10 (84% humidity). Also it was cloudy the entire time and after 8:30 we had some rain. But it was windy and that did make a difference.
Steve Fisher had to write off the 1979 race as a "learning experience." What he learned was that a fast early pace will wreak its toll over the major hills that are yet to come after Easley Hill. Fisher had to give up at 24 miles last year because of leg cramps. This came after he had held a
record pace for almost 21 miles. This year he was back, leading all the way. Fisher's mileage for the summer was down quite a bit, only some 55 miles per week with very few of the 16-18 mile stints which are so necessary. Therefore, he went into this years race with the announced strategy of a conservative early pace. But, in the cool morning darkness,
he, once again, got carried away. In fact, he went out at a pace that was even faster than last year. At nine miles he was almost a nimute ahead of '79 and almost two minutes ahead of Dennis Hinkamp's record pace. He then began to falter a little compared to those previous paces, falling 11 seconds behind '79, but still 49 seconds up on Hinkamp's record. The three mile segment between 15 and 18 was Fisher's undoing. It took him 19:18 to cover that windy stretch and he was over two minutes behind record pace. Along that stretch at 8:00 the wind was out of the northeast at 15 knots and gusting.
Jon Herbert made inroads into Fisher's margin over the last few miles, but not enough. In his sixth HOA Herbert got a PB, almost five minutes under his 2:42:40 of '76.
Debbie Hoxworth won the women's title in her first marathon. She didn't decide to run until the evening before the race when she learned there was a possibility of cool weather. Her second half was seven minutes faster than the first. Most runners had a slower second half this year, primarily because of the wind between 15 and 18.
As usual, one of those who was not slower over the second
half was Lou Fritz, in his 16th consecutive HOA. He had the
fastest last two miles, 385 yards: 13:34 (Fisher was 15:06).
Next fastest was Bob Goodrich at 13:40.
Joe Marks won the age-40 award for the first time after finishing second the last two years behind record-breaking performances. Marks was after a PB (under 2:48) but his early pace and the wind put that notion aside.
Sy Mah, University of Toledo, was in his 182nd marathon. Number 181 was only two days previously in Flora, IL and he had done a 50-mile race just a week before.
Dave Berry, from Bartonville, IL won the Dave Schulte Award
with a 24.84% improvement over his 4:30:05 of 1979.