of America Marathon
The 11th time was the charm for CHRIS COOK who finally got under the elusive sub-3:00 he had been fighting for for 10 consecutive runnings of the Heart of America Marathon. In his second appearance, in 1997, at age 26, Chris ran a 3:00:52 and that stood as his PB. In all the other HOAs Chris came closest in 2004 and 2005 with 3:02:29 and 3:05:54, respectively. In all those other races Chris wanted a sub-3; typically he went out with the lead pack, usually well under a sub-3 pace, but then faded over the closing miles. This year, however, Chris was in the lead pack ok (in fact he was the lead pack all by himself leading wire to wire), but at a slower pace then in previous years. For instance in both 2004 and 2005 he was at 3 miles in a little over 19:00, 6 miles at 37:40 or so, 9 at 56+ and 12 at 1:16+. This year he was 20:20 at 3, 38:45 at 6, 58:32 at 9, 1:17:58 at 12 and it was not until half-way that his time was comparable to ‘04 and ‘05 (1:25:33 in ‘06, 1:25:16 in ‘04). However, whereas in previous years he began slipping behind sub-3 pace after halfway, this year, thanks to his more reasonable early pace, he was able to maintain, throwing in a 1:29:26 second half to get his sub-3, finally, at age 35 in his 11th HOA and with a PB by almost six minutes. Even more remarkable, this year, Chris was battling a tailbone injury he had incurred in the 2005 HOA and was unable to resume training until April. Until a month or so prior to Labor Day, Chris was not certain he would even be able to participate, much less run a PB. As happens so often, an injury may well be a blessing in disguise.
The pre-race favorite was MATT DREIER since he was the only participant with sub-3:00 credentials (other than four-time winner Dave Dobkowski, now age 48 and not in sub-3 shape), having run 2:59:19 last year. Cook, however, came through with his big surprise, which put Matt into a second-place finish, ten seconds off his ’05 time.
BECKY LOWRANCE, at age 49, was overall female winner for the second year in a row with a scintillating 3:21:32, only 1:15 off her ’05 time, lowering the age 49 record by some 52 minutes. Becky’s age record was the only age record set in the ’06 HOA. OKSANA LOGINOVA gave some international flavor to the event. She is from Moscow, Russia and is presently at UMC as an economics professor. She was in her first marathon and finished as second female.
Some CTC performances: ANDY EMERSON’s 3:07:42 was a PB, in his 3rd HOA, by 2:30 as he works his way to a sub-3:00. STEVE BOURGEOIS in his 9th HOA had a 40+ PB (out of 3) and turned in his 4th best overall PB with 3:19:25. KEVIN CRANE made his marathon debut with a fine 3:34:04, a steady 8:10 pace. ALLAN BENJAMIN was a few minutes late to the starting line so he had the fun of passing more than 90 runners en route to his 6th HOA completion. JAMIE MONDELLO completed his 13th HOA, JOHN SCHULZ his 11th , JOEL SARTWELL his 7th (second best performance), and KEVIN SCHROEDER, son of the first winner, in 1960, Joe Schroeder, made his marathon debut in a time not quite as fast as his Dad in 1960. MARY ELLEN BRADSHAW got an HOA PB, albeit by a scant 1:24.
DAVE DOBKOWSKI completed his 20th HOA well on his way to the record 25 HOAs racked up by Lou Fritz from 1965 to 1989.
RICK ROEBER of Lee’s Summit ran his second HOA (out of 4) sans shoes with a barefoot PB.
The Weather: It was a pleasant 59 degrees at the 6:00 am start with 93% humidity, 100% cloud cover and wind out of the north at 6 MPH. The temp got up into the upper 60’s by 11:00, the humidity dropped a little, the winds remained calm and the sun did not appear to any great extent until late morning, all in all a good day for running a marathon.
Again we would not have a successful marathon without a great crew of volunteers:
First recognition to Coach Steve Kissane and some 25 Hickman Cross-Country runners for their superb work in taking care of the 12 on-course water/Gatorade stations; then the timers, Lisa Wells, Whitney & Marge Hicks, David & Lisa Lang, Richard & Barb Harris, Don Waltman, Tom Allen, Linda Lafontaine (who was also a course monitor) and I lost the names of those who did the half-way & 15 mile timing stations; course monitors Bob Humphreys, Dick Hessler, Bill Sappington, Kevin Conn, Jim Linville, Randy Gay (who also helped with registration), Lisa Stevens, The Oscar Chavez family, Dave Gibbons; the finish line staff Tom Allen, Karen Gordon & Chelsea, Peggy Horner, Ben Londeree, Leslie Schneider, Anne Hessler (she procured all the goodies for the finish), Dr. Jill Murphey, Mike Bryant, Norm Stebbins drove the Course Pick-up truck, Newell Kitchen again took care of the cold-water pool at the finish which the runners greatly appreciate; various businesses help out: the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co., Culligan water, Joe Machens Ford, UPS to all these people we issue a hearty "THANK YOU!"