As with so many of our previous HOA competitors (most notably 4-time HOA winner DAVE DOBKOWSKI, several times) Engle had run the Tupelo, MS Marathon the previous day winning with a time of 2:37+. Previous to that he had run 106 marathons, including 52 marathons in 2006, winning 34 of them. I didn’t get a chance to ask him, but I wonder how he has the time and money to run so many marathons in his early 30’s. Many an older runner has run several hundred marathons, but I don’t know of any who have run 100 by age 36.
Engle wasted no time establishing his presence in the 2007 HOA. He was in front right after the start and was never headed. He had an eleven second lead over TOM WHALEN, in his fourth HOA, at the 3-mile split and was 19 seconds up over ERIC BUNCH and CHRIS COOK, last year’s winner. At 6 miles Whalen had pulled to within six seconds, but at 9 Engle was 22 seconds ahead of Whalen and Bunch while Cook was another six seconds back. At 12 Engle was 40 seconds in front of Whalen while Cook had fallen 1:25 back and Bunch 1:34. At the top of Easley Hill, halfway in the race, Engle tacked on another 14 seconds over Whalen and was 1:30 over Bunch and 1:51 over Cook. By 18 miles Bunch took over second place only one minute behind Engle. Whalen was now 2:08 behind first while Cook had fallen back to 5:33 in arrears. Engle stretched out to a 1:43 lead over Bunch at 21 miles and 3:27 over Whalen. Engle sped the last 5 miles, 385 yard in 31:07 to finish with a 1:19:11 second half compared with a 1:23:39 first half. Whalen came on strong over those last miles to also finish with negative splits, albeit his second half was only 23 seconds faster than the first. Bunch has had sciatica trouble over the past year or so. His back began bothering him at about mile seven and he had to stop a few times in the last six miles, but still had a great HOA debut.
It took Chris Cook eleven tries to get a sub-3:00 HOA which he did in his winning effort of 2006. He gets another sub-3:00 in 2007 to continue his breakthrough. Tom Whalen got an HOA PB and has improved his time each of the four years he has run HOA TOM MAY, finishing 5th, had negative splits with 1:32:52 and 1:29:12. He also had a PB, a 45 second improvement over his 1995 HOA. ANDY EMERSON at 8th place has also improved in each of his four HOAs. Look for him to go after that sub-3:00 next year. STEVE BOURGEOIS wore Bib #10 to recognize his 10th HOA, so he finished 10th this year to match the 10th he had last year. Steve had his best time since 2003; 2007 was his fourth best. PHIL SCHAEFER, at age 54, had a 12:50 improvement over his time of four years ago. Speaking of improvements, OSCAR CHAVEZ probably would have won the Dave Schulte Award for Improved Performance had we not discontinued that award last year. In his fourth HOA Oscar improved a whopping 43:07 over his 1999 time--4:09:49 down to 3:26:42.
ANNE BILLINGTON, the elementary school principal of Gratz Brown Elementary School in Moberly and the Elementary Education Director for the Moberly Public Schools, led the female runners with a fine 3:25:10 in her HOA debut. She had run ten marathons prior to HOA with a 3:20:02 PB. She finished second in the Kansas City Marathon in 2005. Billington matched Engle’s run by seizing the lead from the outset and never relinquishing it. She hit the 3-mile mark in 23:50 with Columbia’s KRISTA WHITE, the 2002 HOA female winner, five seconds behind and MARIE ONAN 15 seconds behind White. JAIRA GRATHWOHL was 1:15 back of the female leader.
At 6 miles White was right with Billington and was actually given a time two seconds faster at that point, but by 9 Billington was in front to stay being up 36 seconds on White, :58 ahead of Onan and 4:36 ahead of Grathwohl. The race, however, was not yet a lock for Billington since at 12 miles White had closed to :33 back and, Onan :37, with Grathwohl slipping to 5:55. The charge up Easley Hill took its toll--White fell back to 65 seconds short of first, Onan 1:28 and Grathwohl 6:53. At 18 not much was different except that Onan was now ahead of White having cut her deficit behind first to 1:05 with White losing another ten seconds to be 1:15 behind. Grathwohl was now eight minutes behind first. By 21 Onan was 1:41 behind, White 2:43, while Grathwohl was moving up on the two in front of her and not losing any more behind Billington. In fact Grathwohl covered the final 8 miles, 385 yards faster than the three leaders to finish 7:02 behind first and only 1:30 behind third. Of the four only Grathwohl had negative splits: 1:46:45 and 1:45:27, a fine HOA debut. White had a 5:27 improvement over her winning 2002 time.
THE WEATHER: A cool 63 degrees at the 6:00 AM start with 72% humidity and a moderate wind. With no cloud cover, the sun eventually was out in full force so that the temperature by 11:00 was up to 88. However, the humidity gradually dropped all the way to 39% by 10:00 and to 32% by 11:00. Only once before in HOA’s history have we ever had a humidity reading below 40% and that was at 10:00 am in the very first HOA in 1960. Coincidentally the temperature at that time was 91--the only time the temperature was ever over 90 degrees (by 11:00 am) in an HOA. So, the 2007 Utah-like conditions were great for Mr. Engle.
AGE RECORDS: Six age records, all female:
F28 3:27:55 Marie Onan vs. 3:34:47 Chris Ruble 1982 F40 3:54:53 Maureen O’Hare vs. 4:02:01 Gerardette Groll 1993 F41 3:30:42 Krista White vs. 3:49:01 Susan Matthews 1999 F50 4:24:54 Peggy Horner vs. 4:55:58 Cheryl Simmons 1994 F54 4:38:56 Kay McVey no previous F54 record F63 5:49:35 Barbara Kilburn no previous F63 record-- in fact, Barbara is the oldest woman ever to finish HOA and the only 60+SOME ADDITIONAL NOTES: DAVE DOBKOWSKI ran his 21st HOA. Most likely he is after Lou Fritz’s string of 25 from 1965 through 1989, although Dave’s are not consecutive. TOM KILBURN is out of the past. He was a CTC member in the early 70’s with an HOA PB of 3:30:22 and he is back again at age 62, along with wife Barbara making her marathon debut. MARY ELLEN BRADSHAW in her third HOA had a PB by 16 minutes. CRAIG and TRAVIS BRUMFIELD ran in tribute to their grandfather, Bonnard Moseley, who finished HOA, at age 69, in 4:06:19. Bonnard was one of our stalwart volunteers as a course monitor. He died recently at age 87. HOA was the third marathon of the weekend for JOHN and JILL VOORHIS of St. Petersburg, Florida. They ran the Pocatello, Idaho Marathon on Saturday, a marathon in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Sunday, then HOA on Monday.
We had the most finishers since the 154 we had in 2001 when Hal Higdon was here, run- ning one of his seven marathons in seven months celebrating his 70th birthday. Apart from that we go back to 1980 before we have more finishers--141. 2007 had the sixth largest number of finishers ever.
Prior to this year 45 of the 50 states were represented by at least one HOA finisher. This time we picked up two more: Maine and South Carolina. We now need Alaska, Vermont and North Dakota. Does anyone know of any marathoners from any of those states?
THE VOLUNTEERS (at the risk of not naming someone): Timers: Tom Allen, Linda Lafontaine (Linda was all over the place, notably at College & Broadway with her accordion which got rave reviews from the runners--a great lift for them for the run down Broadway), Bob Martin, Bill Stolz, David Lang, Susan Powell, Richard Harris, Norm Cox, Kyle Farmer, Don Waltman, Richard & Leone Nistendirk.
The Finish area: Tom Allen, Ben Londeree, Karen & Chelsea Gordon, Cathy Lee, Jeanette Forbis, Newell Kitchen (again with the tub of ice & water, much appreciated by the runners), Tamara & Karina Kitchen, Mariah Crouch, Dave Gibbons, Kari ? , Jim Crosby.
Course Monitors: Dick Hessler, Bob Humphreys, Bill Sappington, Kevin Conn, Jim Harrington, Randy Gay, Jim Linville, the Chavez family, Bill Stolz, Bob Martin.
Aid Stations: Steve Kissane & Christian Reed with a host of Hickman HS Cross Country runners, Anne Hessler took care of the fruit at the finish assisted by Amy, Connor & Heidi. Steve Stonecipher Fisher with ice, Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. provided 2,000 12 oz. cups, Culligan donated 13 5-gallon bottles of water.
Medical Personnel: Dr. Jill Murphey, Mike Bryant; Norm Stebbins & wife with the Joe Machens Ford pickup touring the course. Sgt. Chris Harris had the State Highway Patrol involved.
Finally, kudos to HUGH EMERSON for having the results on-line Labor Day pm and to Linda for typing and sending them to Hugh, who, the next day, had the results merged into the All-Performances list on the website--with rankings for everyone who has ever finished HOA---and on his 50th birthday Hugh got a marathon PB in his first HOA.