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

1986 Report

Once again the Heart of America Marathon course had to be changed because of a flood which covered the River Road and had crept part-way up Easley Hill. The second time in a row this has happened after having not occurred for 25 years. This year even the alternate route featured some flooding ¬about a 75 yard stretch of road covered with a foot of water. Many runners, including all the leaders slogged their way through this mess, but most of the runners elected to hop a 75 yard ride through the water. No doubt this saved a little time for those runners, but then there was a slight bobble at the beginning of the race when the runners failed to turn onto Locust St. at the one-mile point as they were supposed to; instead they went on up to Broadway. This added probably a quarter mile to the normal 26 miles, 385 yards, so we guess it all evens out. Add to all this the awarding of trophies with female figures to male runners and, once again, the Heart of America Marathon acquires more unique qualities that makes it different from any other marathon in the country.

Frank Curotto first ran HOA in 1976, running it seven times before grabbing off a first place finish in 1984 with a 2:36:42. Curotto skipped 1985, but was back this year to pick off another first place trophy. Jon Herbert and Robert Cline were the early leaders with Herbert being out in front most of the way to about 19 miles. At that point he was overtaken by Curotto who had been ranging back in third or fourth place most of the first 15 miles, being over two minutes behind the leaders most of that time. Cline then passed Herbert in the final mile to finish second, his third second place HOA finish to go with his three third places. Herbert now has three firsts, two seconds and now a third among his 11 HOAs.

Robin Kokjohn, from Farmington, Iowa, was in her second marathon, having run a 3:37 in the Drake Relays Marathon in 1985. She was the female winner of this year's HOA, running a very evenly paced 3:35:24 and saying afterwards that she found the course to be much easier than she had thought it would be.

For the second year in a row the age 40+ leader was Lou Fritz running his 22nd consecutive HOA, running easily under three hours. Fritz has been under three hours 19 of those 22 times, his slowest time being the 3:01:14 he had in the 1970 heatbath.

The Dave Shulte Award for Improved Performance went to Michael Veit, of Jefferson City, who went from 4:16:19 last year to 3:33:17 this year, a 20.18% improvement. The presentation of the award was made by its sculptor, Larry Young, CTC's olympian bronze medalist in the 1968 Mexico City Games and the 1972 Munich Games.

This was the smallest field of finishers we have had since the 1971 race which had 34 finishers. Prior to that we go all the way back to 1965's 34 finishers to find a field of less than 40 finishers.