of America Marathon
The 26th annual Heart of America Marathon will be remebered as one of those "Remember When" events. Remember when the course was flooded by the Missouri River and had to be changed the day before the race. That is what happened to the 1985 HOA.
The course change meant the elimination of Easley Hill. That prospect caused elation for most of the runners, although there was the nagging thought that without Easley HOA wouldn't be quite the same. An easier course would be great; however, the course did not become easier; because of the change it may have become even tougher. Even though Easley was deleted, also deleted were four miles of downhill and level running. Substituted therefore were some tough,
rolling hills. The increased difficulty of the course manifested itself in the slow times - slow times which cannot be attributed to a lack of quality in the field or the
weather. The winner had a PB of 2:32 (New Orleans in 1982) and the weather was almost a duplicate of last year, but actually a little better, since the sun never did peek out.
There was no previous champion in this year's small field of 50 runners - the smallest field in 16 years. The pre-race favorite had to be Dusty Morris with his 2:32 PB and background of 26 marathons. Morris, from St. Charles, MO,
had the lead from beginning to end with Lou Fritz and Dennis Wescott running along with him for the first 14 miles or so.
David Dobkowski, the second place finisher, ranged up to three minutes behind these leaders and did not take over second place until after the 25th mile. He ran the second half of the race some four minutes faster than the first half and his 2:52:10 was better than the 2:55:34 he had last year.
With a little more room he might have caught Morris since he finished out of first by a mere nine seconds having made up a whopping 2:36 in just two miles. Dobkowski was one of only four runners who showed any improvement over last year. The winning time was the slowest since John Rose ran 2:56:27 in 1963.
Angela Zook, from Fortuna, MO, had perfect, even pacing to capture the first place female trophy. This was her third marathon and probably her best, since her final time was exactly the same as what she had in the 1984 Macy's Marathon, an easier course.
Lou Fritz won the 40-49 award for the first time. Fritz, in his 21st consecutive HOA, threatened to actually win the race by hanging close to the leaders as long as he could. However, he was not in as good shape as in previous years and did not have that usual Fritz kick over the last two miles--Ča kick just like that put on by Dobkowski this year.
Tim Gibson, at age 14, won the Schulte Award by improving
his time by 9.1% over the 4:12:11 he had in 1979.
Truman Waldrup set an age-60+ record, his 3:51:27 bettering Howard Calkin's mark of 4:23:13 set in 1982. However, Calkin's mark is still the age 70+ record.