COLUMBIA — Even before he started his workday, Ryan Hauser had already accomplished a lot. The assistant manager at Menards ran and won his first marathon Monday, when he competed in the Heart of America race. Hauser finished in 2:53:05.
Originally, Hauser began training for the marathon because of his wife, Katie. “My wife wanted to do one,” Hauser said.
Today, though, Katie Hauser was on the sidelines cheering her husband on. “I knew I wouldn’t be ready by September,” Katie said.
Hauser is glad to be finished, especially after the last five to six miles, generally thought to be the most challenging in a marathon. “It’s a great feeling," he said. "I made it through so it was good.”
Katie, who has been running for 19 years, said she was proud of her husband.
“He gave it all he had and got a win out of it," she said. "It’s just amazing."
Dann Fisher of Manhattan, Kan., followed close behind Hauser and finished the race in 2:53:14. This was Fisher’s eighth Heart of America race.
Fisher, 46, said he wasn’t necessarily in it to compete.
“I knew better than to out-sprint someone that much younger,” Fisher said of Hauser, who is 18 years Fisher's junior.
Fisher and Ryan Hauser helped each other tough out the hills on the course.
“We were pulling each other up the hills,” Fisher said. “I was running with him.”
At one point, Fisher called out to Hauser, who kept looking back. "I told him if someone passes him at this point they’ve earned it,” Fisher recalls.
Fisher was the only one Hauser had to worry about since the third place finisher, Pete Doll, finished the race about 3 minutes behind the two leaders.
In the womens race, Andrea Fischer upset Destiny Thomas, winner of last year’s Heart of America marathon.
Fischer finished in 3:18:12. She was excited just to to finish the race, let alone win.
“Before I started, I didn’t think I was going to finish," Fischer said. "Once I signed up, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I had to do it.”
Even though Thomas did not have a repeat win, she was pleased with her performance. She said she beat her time from last year's Heart of America Marathon by 20 minutes.
“This was a personal record for me," Thomas said. "I felt really good.”