of America Marathon
The big story for the last Heart of America Marathon of the Millennium was the weather. For two weeks the temperatures
had been in the mid to upper 90' s with a bright sun; the forecast for Labor Day was more of the same. However, the so-called cool front came a day early. The temperature at the 6:00 AM start was 72 and it got no higher than 75 during the morning and it was mostly cloudy throughout.
The runners, however, got no break from the humidity - it was never lower than 93% during the race. That high humidity probably explains less-than-hoped-for performances by most of the runners. Of the 38 runners who had previously run HOA, only five of them had an HOA PB; the best improvement was by 14:57 (from 4:03:55, 1998, to 3:48:58, a 6.53% improvement),
that being by Chuck Mehrer ,and for that best improvement
Mehrer got the Dave Schulte Award for Improved Performance.
Ron Chisolm won HOA in 1996 with the third best performance on record and he won last year, again flirting with the 2:29:15 record set in 1977 by Dennis Hinkamp. This year Chisolm was content with simply winning - his early pace was not designed for any record performance, but he still opened a considerable gap on the field early on and cruised to a 4:42 victory margin. Shawn Standridge and Matt Brisch ran together for the first 20 miles with Standridge, the winner of HOA in 1998, pulling away going up the Rock Bridge State Park hill to give him a second place finish by 53 seconds. Standridge did not let a slight tussle with a dog at 17 miles hamper him. He actually gained on Chisolm over the last five miles running those miles some 90 seconds faster than the winner.
On the distaff side Barbara Mueller-Fulkerson was a winner
for the second time, having also won in 1998.
Age records were set by Chisolm (for age 39), Gerald Glass(62),
Lou Joline (68) and Laura Clark-Taylor (43).
Two interesting performances came from Joseph "Jay" Schroeder and Bertrand Granberg. They were both in their first marathon (Schroeder at age 40) and they are both sons of notable previous HOA competitors. Schroeder is the son of the very first HQA winner, Joe Schroeder, while Granberg is the son of Don Granberg who ran HOA 9 times in the 70' s
(once in 1969) with a PB of 2:55:19.