of America Marathon
Never before have we had rain at the start of a Heart of America Marathon. In the 43 years of HOA we have had rain on four other occasions, the last time in 1991, and the rain in each of those events came at around the 3 and 4 hour points, when most of the runners were in. In 2003 we did have rain at the start--a fairly hard rain, which, however, tapered off after 20 minutes or so and thereafter, we had only a light drizzle off and on the rest of the morning. After a week of 100+ temperatures, the Labor Day weekend came through cool and rainy. This was great for the marathoners who were accustomed to the heat and humidity of a Labor Day in Missouri. The temperature was 64 at the start; it never got above that, in fact, it had dropped to 62 at five hours. The humidity was still 100% most of the morning, but there was also a 100% cloud cover. 38 of the 111 finishers had previously run at least one HOA and 13 of those had an HOA PB.
PATRICK STEWARD had run HOA the three previous years, finishing 10th, 5th and 5th, but improving his time each year with a PB, this year, by 10 minutes. Steward was way out in front by 3 miles and he simply kept increasing his lead throughout. Behind him, at three miles, was a pack of five runners, including the ultimate 2nd, 4th and 6th place finishers. That pack did not include DANN FISHER or STEVE TAYLOR. It did include DAVID DOBKOWSKI in his 18th HOA who came across with a second place finish to go with four first place, two other second place and two third place finishes. That pack at three miles had broken up by six miles, with Dabkowski clearly establishing himself as the guy chasing Steward. No one, however, could handle Steward's negative splits: 1:24:00 and 1:22:24. Fisher also had negative splits (1:32:20, 1:30:35), but Columbia Multi-Sports guru, Steve Taylor had the second best second half of the day, running that half in 1:29:34 after dawdling through the first half in 1:38:20 ranging back in 18th place at 6, then gradually moving up to 16th at 9, 13th at 12, 11th at 1/2 way and 15, 9th at 21 then picking off four other runners before 7th and Broadway.
On the female side, STACY McANELLY sped out to a three minute lead by the three-mile checkpoint, over JESSICA OSTROM, and increased that lead to as much as five minutes at 9 and 12 miles, but the gap began closing as these two attacked Easley Hill, with McAnelly being up by only 3 minutes by the time they each had gained the top of that hill. At 15 the lead was down to two and Ostrom went by easily thereafter, so that she was up by
Of the top five female finishers, three of them had negative splits: Ostrom 1:51:40 and 1:45:05, CHRISTINE LITTLE a remarkable 1:45:17 second half after a leisurely 2:01:50 first and MARILYN NOLAN with 2:03:45 and 1:54:15. This was the first HOA for each of these women, so somebody gave them some good advice-¬hold back, even if it is a cool day--get up to the top of Easley, then take off.
The DAVE SCHULTE AWARD for Improved Performance went to Gene Britten of Corry, PA. His 3:29:55 was a 9.23% improvement over the 3:51:17 he had last year.
Male 66: GEORGE STUMP, Cincinnati, OH had 4:29:59, well under the 5:33:54 set by Rob Spier in 1988. However, it should be noted that Spier's performance came by race-walking.
Female 46: PATTI MINTON, Gainesville, GA, was in at 3:49:14 going under the 4:11:16 set by Carole Schottman in 1991. Schottman, by the way, was here from Athens, GA, so that record stays in Georgia.
Female 52: MARILYN NOLAN, Springfield, MO, had
a 3:58:00, lowering the 5:28:16 belonging to
Hazel Matthews from 2001. Nolan didn't list her birthdate on the entry form, so her performance
is subject to age verification.
Additional notes re some CTC runners: FRANK KOCH was hanging in third most of the way, but Fisher got him on Providence Rd. just before the turn at 24 miles. STEVE BOURGEOIS in 8th place virtually all the way until Taylor sped past him going down College Ave. Bourgeois was in his 6th HOA and was only 46 seconds off his 1999 PB. No doubt he liked the cool weather; a couple of times in the past he was up among the leaders, but faded in the heat and humidity. This was Bourgeois' 15th marathon in some 12 months. CHRIS COOK was in that lead pack behind Steward and then the pack of three behind Dobkowski. Cook was there for the first 20 miles or so, but he gradually slipped back to his 9th place finish. This was his 8th HOA; he has a PB of 3:00:52 and was making a serious effort to get under that elusive 3:00 mark. JAMIE MONDELLO, in his 10th HOA had his 4th best time at age 48. DWAYNE MILLER, in his third had a PB as did PHIL SCHAEFER, at age 50, in his 4th HOA. ALAN BENJAMIN had a PB by three seconds. JOHN SCHULZ had his second best performance out of 8 HOAs.
This was HOA #7 for CLARENCE COATS, his first being 22 years ago. Then there is BOB McKEE, in his 5th HOA, but his 4th was 25 years ago, at age 25, so here he is again at age 50 and we look for him again in 2028 at age 75.