of America Marathon
GERALD HOLTMEYER in winning the 43rd Annual Heart of America Marathon, at age 43, became the first 40+ ever to win HOA. Holtmeyer ran in 2000 and 2001 and has improved each year--getting better and better with age. He had 3:13:07 in '00 and 2:53:44 in '01. DAVE DOBKOWSKI has been the perennial favorite to be the first 40+ to win HOA and he has come close several times, even though, traditionally, he has run the Tupelo Marathon the day before he runs HOA. He did run Tupelo this year but was not up to a sub-3:00 as he had done twice previously as a 40+. Dobkowski ran his 17th HOA.
Holtmeyer had the lead from the start and steadily increased it throughout over TOM WHALEN, who was second all the way.
MATT LUCAS ranged along around 10th place or so, but his negative splits (1:30:15, 1:24:23) brought him a third-place finish. First Columbian was PATRICK STEWARD who also had negative splits (1:30:00, 1:26:18). Steward was in his third HOA, also improving each year.
KRISTA WHITE, a parttime teacher at Columbia Independent School, got the first-place plaque for first female in her first marathon. MELISSA DAVIS not only got the second place plaque for females, she also won the Dave Schulte Award for Improved Performance. She was some 47 minutes (16.9%) faster than her time of a year ago.
RECORDS: Holtmeyer, 43, at 2:46:40 was under Dobkowski's 2:48:27 of '01, Ronnie Wilson, 56, beat William Andberg's mark of 3:27:06 set 35 years ago, Chin Lin, 63, went 40
minutes under a 1996 mark. Melissa Young set an age 18 mark;
Laura Weber, 43 and Debra Burnham, 48 set records.