Birthday: April 24, 1974
Hometown: Columbia, MD
College: University of Wisconsin, Parkside
20 km - 1:26:50
50 km - 3:58:45
1 mile - 5:55
After freshman year of high school, at a Junior Olympic meet, 1989, Al Heppner was sitting in the bleachers laughing at the race walkers. A friend bet him a dollar that he wouldn't try it. Heppner looked at this as easy money and entered the race. With just a bunch of younger kids in the race. he won th 3K and the rest was history. Heppner started to train for the walk and qualified for the national JO's that year, but as he was sprinting down the last 100 meters battling for the gold, he received 3 red cards and was DQ'd.
Coach Dewitt saw Heppner's potential and rewarded him with a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin - Parkside. Heppner flourished in college and was a 4 time NAIA All American. Gunning to win the nationals in his senior year, Heppner was challenged by someone who while fast, was not obeying the rules of race walking. As Heppner couldn't take a chance on the judges DQ'd his competition, Heppner was pushed to walking his fasted 5K ever. With that effort, he broke the National record in a time of 20:07.
Graduating from college in 1997, he move to the Olympic Training Center. Quickly Heppner moved up in the senior ranks and qualified for the Pan Am cup, world cup, world champs, and world university game. However, his goal was the Olympic trails. While in the best shape of his life, Heppner walked most of the 50K trails with a birth on the Olympic team with his grasp. Unfortunately, abysmal weather conditions with the temperature below 50, heavy rain, and 40- 50 mph winds took their toll and Heppner got hypothermia.
After a brief time off, Heppner joined the Army in August of 2000 and entered their WCAP by December. Heppner has struggled to regain his 2000 year performances, battle injuries.
Unfortunately, Heppner passed away shortly after the 2004 Olympic Trials. He is greatly missed by the many people he touched with his great personality and wonderful race commentaries.
2003 9th - 1:32:22.4 2002 2nd - 1:25:57 2001 6th - 1:27:48 1999 6th - 1:26:50 1998 5th - 1:37:29 1997 10th - 1:29:43
2002 5th - 4:11:18 2001 4th - 4:22:03 1999 2nd - 3:58:45 1998 4th - 4:18:01
2002 5K - 21:51 1999 15K - 1:08:02 1997 15K - 1:08:07 1995 15K - 1:12:07
20K World Cup
1999– 81st – 1:34:35– Mezidon, France
50K World Championships
1999– DQ – Edmonton, Canada
20K Pan Am Cup
2001 – DQ – Cuenca, Ecuador
1998 - 11th - 1:37:29 - Miami, Florida