Columbia Labor Day marathon kicks off its 59th year

10 months 1 week 6 days ago Sunday, September 03 2017 Sep 3, 2017 Sunday, September 03, 2017 7:15:00 PM CDT September 03, 2017 in News
By: Zara McDowell, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - The Heart of America Marathon turns 59 Monday and the race is set to start Labor Day morning.

While Labor Day usually means taking a break, the marathon runners are doing anything but.

Val Mertens, a Chicago resident and cancer survivor, is adding the Heart of America Marathon to his impressive list of 26.2 mile runs. 

"I've run 54 marathons in 49 states up to this point, this is my 55th in my 50th state," said Mertens.

This Columbia tradition started on Labor Day in 1958 and has not missed a year since.

Runners come from all over the world to take part in what's been coined as the hardest, yet most beautiful marathon in the world. 

Mertens said this race means more to him than just another marathon to check off his list. 

"I'm running in memory of a couple people, and in celebration that I'm still here," Mertens said, "In 2008, I ended up with kidney cancer, had to take a little while off and just came back swinging a couple of months after surgery." 

Mertens said it's taken him 20 years to complete a marathon in every state, his first marathon was in Alaska.

"We re-certified the course according to the USAT (USA Triathlon) standards, my partner timer... came down and rode the whole thing on a bike...got the course measured within a quarter of an inch of accuracy," Marathon Timer Tony Castelli said, "Timing is just a big challenge, kind of a puzzle."

Mertens said he took a ride on the course to prepare for the marathon and, "it's a little rougher" than he expected.

To view pictures of the past marathons click here.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - An arrest for suspicion of filing a false report has been made in connection to a reported robbery... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 11:44:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - After four days of searching, Jerry Kinman has been found dead near Little Dixie Lake. Kinman,... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 10:19:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
STURGEON - The carnival rides at the Boone County Fair closed unexpectedly just hours after the fair opened because they... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 9:00:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A democratic candidate for Missouri's fourth congressional district criticized the Republican incumbent Tuesday for her lack of action... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 6:46:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce harshly criticized the city council at Monday night's meeting regarding projects being put... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 6:41:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Hy-Vee recalled its Spring Pasta Salad from 244 stores on Tuesday. Company officials said 20 illnesses by... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 5:54:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
MEXICO - Josh Hawley faced questions about President Donald Trump's summit with Russia as well as tariffs facing Missouri farmers... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 5:31:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
BOONE COUNTY – Expecting mothers in Boone County will soon have more services at their disposal. The county received... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 2:16:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Grain Belt Express Clean Line, a proposed energy transmission project through northern Missouri, got new life... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 1:59:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
ASHLAND - A child identification program wants to help parents be as prepared as possible in the event that a... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 1:41:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Nineteen agencies received more than $115,000 in grant money Tuesday from the United Way of Central Missouri.... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 11:56:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Some people may notice their trash laying out on the curb for longer than usual on Tuesday. ... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 11:12:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLE COUNTY - A car chase which started in Cole County on Tuesday ended in Columbia with two arrests. ... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 10:22:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The group fighting a ballot measure that would make Missouri a right-to-work state has outraised its... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 10:17:30 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities say two planes carrying more than 250 passengers made emergency landings at Kansas City International... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 10:11:34 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Police records related to the shooting death of Rovon Blocker suggest the incident appeared to be accidental. ... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 9:39:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Three Fulton men are in custody after being charged with stealing and drug offenses, in connection to... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 9:01:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
FULTON - A judge sentenced a man convicted of a dozen sex crimes, some involving children, to sixty years in... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 8:05:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 70°
7am 71°
8am 74°
9am 76°
10am 79°