GERALD HOLTMEYER in winning the 43rd Annual Heart of America Marathon, at age 43, became the first 40+ ever to win HOA. Holtmeyer, from Fulton, ran in 2000 and 2001 and he has improved each year--getting better and better with age. He had 3:13:07 in '00 and 2:53:44 in '01.
Dave Dobkowski has been the perennial favorite to be the first 40+ to win HOA and he has come close several times, even though, traditionally, he has run the Tupelo Marathon the day before he runs HOA. He did run Tupelo this year but was not up to a sub-3:00 as he had done twice previously as a 40+. Dob, by the way, ran his 17th HOA.
Holtmeyer had the lead from the start and steadily increased it throughout over Tom Whalen, who was second all the way.
Matt Lucas from Moberly ranged along around 10th place or so, but his negative splits (1:30:15, 1:1:24:23) brought him a third place finish. First Columbian was Pat Steward who also had negative splits (1:30:00, 1:26:18). Steward was in his third HOA, also improving each year.
KRISTA WHITE, a parttime teacher at Columbia Independent School, got the first-place plaque for first female in her first marathon. An unregistered female runner crossed the finish line ahead of Krista and was mistakenly awarded first place because the Race Director was not thinking clearly in the heat of the moment, on the spot. However, this mistake was rectified and White got her due award.
This incident provides two lessons in runner's etiquette: 1.Non-registered runners should NEVER cross the finish line. 2.Non-registered runners should never partake of aid from the aid stations. Aid stations are for registered runners only. The reasons for these two rules of runner's etiquette are obvious and are to be observed not only for HOA, but for all races.
MELISSA DAVIS not only got the second place plaque for females, she also won the Dave Schulte Award for Improved Performance. She was some 47 minutes (16.9%) faster than her time of a year ago.
The weather: Temperature was 69, humidity 90% for the first hour, then it gradually got up to 84 at the five-hour point and down to 65% humidity. The skies were cloudless, therefore, the hot sun was a factor after 7:00am., however, there was a nice breeze from the south.
As usual HOA was a success only because of the fine work of all our volunteers. We are certain these people never get the recognition they deserve but we will tell you who they were in 2002: First, Jeanine Pagan, ably supported by daughter Ellen and husband Steve and some 30 high school cross country kids took care of the Aid Stations, Anne Hessler was responsible for the Finish Line Aid Station, buying all the fruit and being there for the duration. Craig Israelsen and Newell Kitchen had two large water tubs with water and ice at the finish. The Columbia Fire Dept. was kind enough to fill these tubs with water.
The timers: Jeff & Lisa Wells, David Lang, Diane Priest, Richard Harris, Ken Toler, Tom Collier, George and Marcia Smith, Will and Jerrilee Robinson, David Webber, Whitney Hicks.
The Finish Line: Tom Allen, Ben Londeree, Dick Hessler, Joyce Schulte (who has missed HOA only once or twice since 1969), Karen and Chelsea Gordon, Pat Fowler, Marie Kerl, Leslie Schneider, Jim Crosby.
Bob Humphreys, Dick Hessler, Don Waltman, Bonnard Moseley, Debbie Karwoski, David Coogan, Angela Passanise, Richard Boggs.
Marion Harlan drove the truck provided by Joe Machens Ford (Charles Brown), Jeff Bridges, physical therapist rode with him and stayed with us until 1:00PM, The Boone Co. Fire Protection District was touring the course, (thanks to Jeff Scott), Pepsi furnished 4500 cups (Charles Lynch) and there may have been other commercial donations, Tiger Ice, perhaps. Mike Bryant who was indispensable as a paramedic and responsible for having the Boone Hospital Center on site and Kurt Kennett who got the results on to the website. Anyway, a hearty "THANK YOU" to all of you and to those of you I may have, unwittingly, overlooked.
Race Director - Joe Duncan