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


54TH Annual Heart of America Marathon
September 2, 2013


Five guys launched a crowd of 243 runners into the fairly cool, early morning darkness, to a finish at 7th & Broadway where 238 of those starters finished, an attrition rate of only 1.8%, a rate probably better than most marathons staged in marathon-favorable cool weather. Those five guys were AUSTIN JACOBS, DANIEL STULTS, TREVOR JOHANNSEN, MIKE WELLS, and KARL GILPIN, with AARON NORMAN and MAXWELL SCHUMAN trailing, not too far back. Of this group of seven, only Norman, of Oak Grove, MO, was an HOA veteran, running 3:08:32 and 3:06:27 in 2011 and 2012.

The rolling ball of five began to break apart on the long hill leading to the two-mile sign. At the three-mile timing spot, Jacobs, Springfield, MO, Stults, St. Louis, and Johannsen, Lawrence, KS were up by 10 seconds over Wells, Mount Pleasant, IA and Gilpin, 46, of Russellville, MO. Norman and Schuman, Springfield, MO, an Evangel University running buddy of Jacobs, were over a minute in arrears, with DEVIN CORY, also HOA-newcomer, Scottsdale, AZ, having joined them.

In the meantime, CTC's TOM MAY and ANDY EMERSON were moving along. May got locked into 9th place for almost the entire duration of the race, including the finish, with an HOA PB of 3:01:09, under the 3:02:04 he had in 2007. May had negative splits of 1:30:50 and 1:30:19. He has two other 3:02+ in his mix of 7 HOAs., and now a PB at age 47!

Emerson, 44, got locked into simply moving at a moderate pace. After all, just two weeks prior to his HOA start, he had run the Leadville, CO 100-miler in some 26 hours. So, with that little warm-up, and with a first half warm-up in this HOA, he runs the second half HOA more than 3 and a half minutes faster than the first. Negative splits of 1:34:00 and 1:30:34 gave a him a final 3:04:34, and a 10th place finish. Not bad, considering in 2012 he also did a 100-miler, that time some four weeks prior to HOA, finishing HOA in a disappointing 3:20:27, a personal worst.. This was Emerson's 10th consecutive HOA.

We shouldn't overlook Kirksville's JOHN VENNER, also an HOA newcomer, who finished 8th with a rousing finish over the final two miles, 385 yards. At 24 he was 2:06 behind May. He made that up and added 54 seconds to take the 8-spot away from May. He had poked along after the start, not far behind Emerson. He caught Emerson around Pierpont, then moved ahead. As you might expect, he had fine negative splits: 1:33:50 and 1:26:25.

Now, what ever happened to those five guys, plus three? They weren't exactly dawdling around. At six miles Jacobs, Stults, Wells and Johannsen were still together at 6:12 pace, Gilpin and Cory were 50 seconds behind while Norman and Schuman were 2:44 back. By nine, 55:41, Wells had dropped out of that foursome by 26 seconds, Gilpin and Cory were two minutes back, Schuman another two minutes and Norman almost five minutes in arrears. Reaching 12, Johannsen had been dropped with Jacobs and Stults going by in 1:13:00 with a quick 17:19 down an easy stretch. Johannsen and Wells were now together a minute back and Gilpin, Cory and Schuman were together three minutes behind with Norman now five off. Going up Easely Hill, Jacobs, with a halfway mark of 1:20:32, finally dropped Stults, albeit by only ten seconds. In order, the two leaders were followed up the hill by Johannsen, Wells, Gilpin, Cory, Schuman and Norman with separation between each of them down to the 1:28:55 of Norman.

So it went through 21 miles with the only change in that order being Schuman swapping positions with Cory. In the meantime, Venner, beginning a charge after topping Easley Hill in 18th place, had moved into 10th three minutes behind Tom May. Andy Emerson was ten seconds behind Venner coming over the top of Mt. Easley; he moved right along with him, or a little behind, as they picked off the runners ahead. They were both on that last half charge. At 21 Emerson was 11th, and had fallen a minute behind Venner and four minutes behind May.

Then between 21 and 24 the fun began. Jacobs and Stults maintained their positions as they would to the finish at 7th and Broadway. Wells took over 3rd with a quick 19:43 3-mile split while Johannsen slipped back to 5th with Gilpin grabbing 4th with a 19:04 split. Schuman stayed 6th. Norman and May went by a fading Cory, Norman now 7th and May 8th. Venner had moved into 10th and Emerson 11th. So it was at mile 24.

2 miles, 385 yards remained. Jacobs broke the non-existent tape, covering that last stretch in 13:51, followed by Stults, Wells and Gilpin. Schuman had a 14:28 split to Johnannsen's 17:14 to take 5th away from the latter. Norman held his position, 7th. A hard-charging Venner, going after a sub-3:00, had the fastest 2-385 of anybody, 13:18, falling a scant 15 seconds short of that elusive sub-3. With that kick he sailed by the still fading Cory, and May, picked up two places and finished 8th, ahead of May in 9th.. Emerson, most likely with a quicker sprint than he had in that Leadville 100, caught Cory to capture his spot in the top 10.

CTC was also well represented by CHRIS COOK, the winner of the 2006 HOA, running his 17th HOA. Cook was out with the early crowd, settling into 13th place going past 3 miles. Shortly after 6, he was joined by DANN FISHER, Manhattan, KS, now age 50. Cook and Fisher occupied 13th and 14th places until Fisher dropped back going up the 20-mile hill at Rock Bridge State Park. Cook stayed 13th all the way to the finish while Fisher plummeted to a final 21st place.


MOLLY McMAHON, also new to HOA, from Indianapolis, IN, ran easily from the start to the 3-mile timing station, going by there in 4th place, women, in 22:40, but only 15 seconds behind the first woman, JESSICA CONNERY, Kearney, MO. Between the two of them wereANITA MOLLER, 42, from Clinton NY and JULIE BERGFELD, 46, out of St. Louis. Behind them came ELIZABETH MASON, Lenexa, KS, EMILY FRANKS, Centerton, AR, and GRACE CHILES, 40, Columbia. McMahon quickly left all of them behind going down Rt. K to the six mile mark. She was there at 43:15 35 seconds in front of Connery and more than a minute and up to almost seven minutes over the other four. At nine miles Connery had closed to within eight seconds of McMahon, then at twelve the two were together in 1:27:00. Cresting Easley, halfway, McMahon was 1:36:40, 15 seconds up on Connery and by 15 that was upped to 24 seconds. By 18 McMahon had complete command of the women's race, now with a 2:46 margin over Connery. Moller, Bergfeld, Mason, Chiles, and Franks were following, the five of them within a five minute span.

By the 21-mile mark, coming down Providence Rd., Moller had moved by Connery, getting in front of her by 35 seconds. McMahon, at 2:37:30, was comfortably in front of Moller, by 4:27. After 21 Bergfeld had also gone by Connery, and Chiles had slipped by Franks; the two of them had been alternating 6 th and 7th places at every 3-mile split starting with mile-9, but Franks regained the 6 spot before the 24-mile sign at Stadium and Providence. So, at 24 it was McMahon, Moller, Bergfeld, Connery, Mason, Chiles and Franks. Mason, by the way, checked in at 5th place at every timing location, including 24 where she was 24 seconds behind 4th and 27 behind third. At 24 McMahon was 2:51 ahead of Moller, who had closed the gap after her largest deficit, 5:22, at 18 miles.

Then the "sprint" to the finish began, most notably by Mason, who whizzed by both Bergfeld and Connery to capture 3rd place, female, by 14 seconds. Mason's flying finish, in 16:28, was the fastest of all the women and most of the men, over the final 2-385, compared to Bergfeld's 17:09. Moller also launched a kick, going after a first place, but it was too little, too late. She sped that final stretch 1:23 faster than McMahon, but was still 1:28 short. Chiles had the only negative splits:1:46:02 first half, 1:43:53, second. Mason was close: 1:42:10, 1:43:02.

MORE . . . . .

Chiles, 40, Moller, 42 and Bergfeld, 46 all set age records. See table below.

PHIL SCHAEFER, CTC, at age 60, went after the age 60 record of 3:17:11 posted by Gerald Glass, Springfield in 1998. He fell short by 4:48, but gave it good shot with 1:40:15, 1:41:44 splits.
STEVE BOURGEOIS, 49, now of Steamboat Springs, CO, finished his 16th consecutive HOA with a fine 3:23:33. Schaefer ran a couple of places, and a minute or so, behind Bourgeois most of the distance and was behind him by 45 seconds at 24 miles. The older gentleman then put the hammer down running the final 2-385 in 16:34 while the younger fellow was coming in with an 18:53 from 24 to the finish.
MINDY COOLMAN , Missouri Valley, IA, won the Dave Schulte Award, her 3:39:00 being a 19.19% improvement over her 4:31:02 of a year ago. This was her 4th HOA.
DAVE DOBKOWSKI , St. Louis, a 4-time winner of HOA ran his 27th, more than anybody, but that also means there are 27 he didn't run.
LISA WELLS, CTC,ran her first HOA, at age 50. Her 3:56:49, 9:02 pace, was outstanding.
JEFF MITTLEHAUSER, 56, Sedalia, came back. He won HOA in 1979, in 2:34:08, and was 2nd in '78 at 2:38:43 behind Denton Childs' 2:33:04.
HUGH EMERSON, now a double-nickel age, ran his 7th consecutive HOA. He had a reasonable shot at the Schulte Award with his 33 minute improvement over 2012.
MARY ELLEN BRADSHAW, the epitome of consistency,ran her 9th consecutive HOA, more than any woman, whether consecutive or not. Her times range from her first of 4:39:16 to 4:03:43 from two years ago. She has an average of 4:16:17 for those nine.
KATHY and LUIS OCCENA each ran their second HOA, Kathy, now age 50, chalking up a PB 4:30:33, an 8:04 improvement.
MAUREEN O'HARE completed her seventh consecutive HOA, second only to Mary Ellen Bradshaw for the number of HOAs completed by a woman.
JOHN SCHULZ, Columbia, now only 55, wrote in his marathon log an 18th consecutive HOA, second only to the 25 consecutive strung out by Lou Fritz in the '70's, '80's and '90's. Schulz's 2013 time was considerably faster than his '11 and '12 times.
TOM DETORE, 65,Lenexa, KS, ran his 356th marathon on Labor Day. Nine of them have been on the HOA course. He was the winner of the Schulte Award in 2009.

Then there's TRENT "MARATHON MAN" MORROW, a tall, affable, well-muscled, 40-year-old Australian who has spent most of 2013 in the U.S. consuming marathon finishes nearly as fast as Joey Chestnut stuffs down Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs. The "M-Man" wants to join Chestnut in the Guinness Book of World Records, "Man's" feat being to run at least 160 certified course, true distance marathons, including many International marathons, in the calendar year, 2013. HOA was his 99th marathon of the year. And, yes, if you saw a runner with a "99" pinned on a Superman-like "M" in an enclosed circle on a form-fitting blue shirt to which was attached a flying red cape, then, indeed, you guessed right, that was "Marathon Man," not Carl Edwards. "Man" was a generator for spectator feedback. He seemed to ignite a surge of electricity as he flew around the course, by the cheering aid station staffers, the excited intersection monitors and through a charged-up crowd, bolting down Broadway to a sparkling finish. He was a crowd-pleaser--articulate, willing to, and taking time, to talk to anyone, signing autographs and hoisting two brothers, one up on each shoulder for a photo taken by a beaming Dad. Those two brothers will have a photo they and their posterity will treasure for a long time.

Good luck! and Godspeed, Marathon Man

The weather . . . .

Not much to say about the weather. It was probably one of the more "normal" HOAs, fairly cool in the early morning hours (mid-60's), high humidity, 84% at the start, temp rising to high 70's toward noon, with lower humidity, no clouds, bright sun, little wind.

46 Mike Wells Mount Pleasant, IA 2:49:27
Old: Dann Fisher 2:53:14 2009
69 John Schneller West Des Moines, IA 4:04:38
Bonnard Moseley 4:06:19 1988
76 George Stump Cincinnati, OH 6:32:02
None, would have been oldest except for:
78 Dan Shuff San Antonio, TX 5:05:44
None, Shuff is now the oldest HOA finisher
35 Christina Ramirez Columbia, MO 3:42:51
Old: Penny Gallogly 3:43:50 1982
40 Grace Chiles Columbia, MO 3:30:22
Sarah Breier 3:53:50 2008
42 Anita Moller Clinton, NY 3:22:50
Mary Flaws 3:32:24 2009
46 Julie Bergfeld St. Louis, MO 3:25:26
Stacey Slover 3:32:47 2012
65 Rae Mohrmann St. Louis, MO 4:19:14
Marian Loftin 4:49:17 2012

A little more history . . . . . .

The 2013 HOA saw seven sub-3:00:00 finishes by the men and six sub-3:30's by the women. That is the most, ever, sub-3:30s for the women. There were five in 2009.

Seven Sub-3s for the men is the most since seven sub-3's in 1996. In 1966, '67, and'68 we had 16, 13 and 11 sub-3's, respectively and that was with small fields of 48, 41 and 37. Apart from those three years, the only other years with as many as ten sub-3's were the years from 1974 through 1984, eleven years. Those were the years of intense, highly competitive HOA marathons. During those years the number of sub-3 finishers ranged from 12 in 1975 to 29 in 1976, with an average of 22. There were 28 in 1981. The fewest was 16 in 1984, and that was the big 25th Annual year with 108 finishers. Otherwise, during those years the number of finishers ranged from 67 in 1974 to the record 178 in 1978, the record until 2009 when a huge crowd appeared for the 50 th Annual. Back in the '70's and '80's marathon running had not yet become a "people's" event.

All this shows how the marathon has changed. HOA was one of only a scattering of marathons around the U.S. until the 90's when the situation slowly changed. Running marathons became a popular event during the'00s when recreational runners got caught up in the running, and marathoning fever. All that is definitely for the better. People now realize that "if you can do it, so can I." Perhaps with that and a general emphasis on fitness we can become a nation of fit people.

Akin to all this is a look as to how the median times have changed. This year the median time was 4:13:26, the lowest since 4:08:29 in 2007. This may indicate that all these marathon runners are becoming faster and more competitive, both up front and in their respective age groups. The median times in those intense '74 to '84 years ranged from 3:23:20 in '74 to 3:44:30 in '78.


Not enough can be said for the remarkable response we had to our call for volunteers, more than 150 of them. Their enthusiasm out on the course, at the aid stations, at the intersections and at the finish had to be contagious and must have reached out to the runners. We know that is so, because many, many runners have said so. I will not attempt herein to mention any names, many of which are unknown volunteer staffers at the aid stations. Rather we include the volunteer assignment, aid station and contributor lists.