Heart of America Marathon
Labor Day heart2.gif (4940 bytes) Columbia, Missouri



September 6, 2010

47-year-old DANN FISHER, an accounting professor at K-State, became the oldest winner of the Heart of America marathon and only the second person over age 40, Gerald Holtmeyer of Fulton having won in 2002 at age 43. (We have had several age 40+ women winners led by 3-time female winner Becky Lowrance at ages 47, 48, & 49, Andrea Fischer, 45 and Krista White 41.)

Last year Fisher and CTC’s 28-year-old Ryan Hauser ran together the entire distance until the jaunt down Broadway when Hauser, the youngster, left his elder behind to win by nine seconds. This year it was another youngster, 26-year-old Kevin Lambert of Kansas City, in his first marathon, who stayed with Fisher most of the distance. However, Fisher avoided a duel down Broadway by putting the hammer down going north on College Ave., taking the sting out of the youngster’s legs. Fisher, the wily veteran, came across the finish line in 2:54:11 just 57 seconds slower than his 2009 performance. Lambert was 33 seconds in arrears. In ‘09 Fisher covered the final 2 miles, 385 yards in 14:53; this year, leaving nothing to chance, or a fast-closing kid, he sped through that final stretch in 14:37. The 3-mile splits for the two went 20:33, 19:25, 20:35, 19:11, 20:27 (Easley Hill), 18:49, 20:27, 20:07. Both Fisher and Lambert had negative splits, Fisher 1:27:34 and 1:26:37, Lambert 1:27:30 and 1:27:14. Fisher grabbed another age record, for age 47, to go with his age 46 record of last year AND significantly, his age 18 record of 2:49:10 set 29 years ago, which is still his HOA PB. After age 18 he didn’t run HOA for 15 years, then came back with a leisurely 3:57:05 in 1996, then steadily worked up to a 3:03 & 3:02 in five more HOAs, then a 6-year layoff getting older, and faster, until last year’s stellar comeback.

While Fisher and Lambert were trotting along, a group of four, (a peleton?) were staging a tussle for third. TOM WHALEN, St. Louis, in his seventh HOA, with two seconds and two thirds, now has three thirds with his 2:58:50 coming in 66 seconds ahead of CTC’s ANDY STAROSTKA, who was 1:52 in front of STEVE COLE, St. Louis who in turn was 70 seconds in front of CTC’s ANDY EMERSON striving again for that elusive HOA sub-3:00 after missing by only 23 seconds last year. Starostka was the leader of these four runners the entire distance until the final 2, 385 which Whalen sped in 14:20 to pull away rather easily from the other three.

SARA MAJOR, Pittsburg, Kansas, was here for her third HOA. She ran a terrific race to establish a PB by almost 18 minutes, well under her 3:34:09 of last year. Major was immediately out front from the start, already being ahead by 1:07 at the 3-mile split. She cruised from there maintaining a three to four minute lead throughout. CHRISTINE FULLER closed the gap somewhat over the final 2-385 recording negative splits of 1:40:25 and 1:40:02. The third place finisher, 44-year-old STACEY SLOVER, Kansas City, may have had the most remarkable performance setting an age 44 record and having great negative splits: 1:47:30 and 1:41:17. She, too, came on with a rush over the final 2-385. At 24 miles she was 55 seconds behind ALLYSON WEIMER, Washington, OK, but went by her coming down Broadway to grab the 13 second margin for third.

OTHER NOTABLE PERFORMANCES: STEVE BOURGEOIS in his 13th consecutive HOA, remarkably, got a PB. Back in 1999, in his second HOA, he ran a 3:08:01, but now, at age 46, he comes up with a 3:07:21 PB. Like his favorite wine he improves with age. CHRIS COOK has now run 15 consecutive HOAs. He was off the 2:54:59 of his 2006 win, but not by a whole lot. He’ll be 40 in 2011. As shown by Steve, he can come back with renewed vigor as a 40-year-old. Speaking of the old guys, consider PHIL SCHAEFER, at age 57, breaking one of the oldest age records. In 1968 William Andberg came down from Anoka, MN and ran HOA in 3:17:32. Schaefer beat that by 30 seconds. As he was running down Broadway he probably didn’t know he was on record pace, but maybe he did and gave it a little push. In this, his 8th HOA, he was off his 2007 PB by only 13 seconds. Maybe that was what was pushing him. Then there is STEVE YOUNG, Jefferson City, in his 16th HOA, setting an age 63 record. There were ten records set by the women, as shown below.

DAVID DOBKOWSKI ran his 24th HOA--next year it will be number 25 to tie the string laid out by Lou Fritz. JOHN SCHULZ ran his 15th consecutive HOA.

MARY ELLEN BRADSHAW ran her sixth consecutive HOA and got her sixth consecutive PB. On the Dave Schulte Award for Improved Performance is the quote: “You will get better with every race.” One may not get better as measured by the relentless, precise time shown by the clock but there can be improvement in fitness, mental, and emotional attitude not registered by the clock. But, realistically, most of us do not get better with every race, timewise. Some 83 runners have completed at least six HOAs. Only three of them, including Mary Ellen Bradshaw, have started their HOA careers with six consecutive PBs. In fact, no one other than those three, can claim a string of six PBs-- not Fritz, not Dobkowski, no one. The first to have six in a row HOA PBs was Jerry Kokesh, Chesterfield, MO who ran his 1971 HOA in 3:44:00, then worked that down to a 2:59:19 in 1976. He failed to improve in ’77. Dick Madsen ran 13 HOAs, starting with 4:27:33 in 1978 with his six in a row PBs culminating with 3:01:09 in 1983. He, too, failed to improve in his 7th HOA. Now Mary Ellen has gone from 4:39:16 in 2005 to 4:01:47 in 2010. If she gets a 7th PB in 2011 she will stand alone. Sorry, Mary Ellen, but the pressure is on.

The Dave Schulte Award for Improved Performance went to CTC’s BRYAN NORTON, Director of the Run with the Eagles 5k springtime race. Bryan ran the 2009 HOA in 4:42:57, but went 41:25 better than that this year, a 14.6 % improvement. He actually had a PB of 4:01:53 but that was in 2007, so he now has a PB by 21 seconds in his 7th HOA. SOME MISCELLANY: Of the 235 finishers 68 were female (29%) same as 2009. There were 121 age 40+ runners, (51%, a little fewer than last year) 94 male and 27 female. The median time was 4:24:51, slower than last year’s median time of 4:17:13.

We were taken completely off guard by the number of entrants. After last year’s 278 finishers we were certain the numbers would drop down to what they were prior to the 50th annual celebration, 130 or so. We geared up for some 200 runners. With 265 registered we were short some 60 t-shirts and for that we apologize, but we will have them for you, soon we hope.

AGE RECORDS set in 2010:
AGE Previous record
47 Dann Fisher 2:54:11 2:55:02 1988 Donald Gorton, Springdale, AR
57 Phil Schaefer 3:17:02 3:17:32 1968 William Andberg, Anoka, MN
63 Steve Young 3:50:26 4:34:51 2002 Chin Lin, League City, TX
39 Christine Fisher 3:20:27 3:56:29 2001 Carrie Besselmann Troy, MO
44 Stacey Slover 3:28:47 3:47:59 1982 Carolyn Wilson St. Louis, MO
50 Diane Lambert 4:04:34 4:24:54 2007 Peggy Horner Columbia, MO
55 Debe Jajko* 3:50:14 None
56 Barbara Bellows 3:51:10 4:02:05 2004 Karen Cummings Madison, SD
61 Summer Allen! 5:54:36 None
58 Maggie Mount 5:21:02 5:27:59 2001 Jeanne Bocci Grosse Pointe, MI
62 Rae Mohrmann** 4:26:50 5:47:21 2009 Marsha White Gainesville, FL
64 Peggy Trager 5:35:09 None
65 Donna Haun 5:38:03 None
*Jajko now has three age records, 53, 54, 55
**Mohrmann is a 50-Stater—a marathon in all 50 states

THE WEATHER: The temperature at the 6:00 am start was 63, humidity 65%, wind 7 MPH ESE. The temp gradually went up to 70 at 10:00 and 78 at noon with a bright sun throughout. The humidity stayed low, in fact, the range from 63% down to 48% at noon, was the lowest ever, save for 2007 when the humidity started at 72% and was all the way down to 32% by 11:00. The humidity is usually a stifling 80 to 100 %. This year the winds picked up to 12 MPH at 7:00 stayed at that speed or up to 15-18, gusting at times to 25 until noon and after. However, the winds were out of the south, so that probably helped the runners.

THE VOLUNTEERS: Not enough can be said about the volunteers. We all know without them there would be no Heart of America marathon. In addition to the organizations and people listed as supporters on the card in the race packets we had Bourn Feed & Supply and Orscheln Farm & Home Supply providing the water tanks so popular with the runners, the Columbia Fire Dept. for filling those tanks with good, clean water, Starbucks for the raffle basket, Boone County Bank for the electricity at the finish, the Aid Station personnel (14 Aid Stations this year), all the timers and recorders who so diligently recorded all the 3-mile splits for every runner, all the people who were course intersection monitors, and all those at the finish area.