Born in Leipzig, East Germany in 1965, behind the Iron Curtain, Uta was introduced to competitive athletics at the age of 13. On January 5, 1990, almost penniless, Uta and her coach, Dieter Hogen, left East Germany, yearning for the freedoms of the west.
Only then was it possible for Uta to pursue her lifelong goal to run and win the marathon that stood for freedom in her mind: the Boston Marathon. She won the Boston Marathon three years in a row, ’94-96’. Further wins included the New York City Marathon, and three Berlin Marathon victories, including the 1990 “Reunification Marathon,” unifying East and West Germany.
A two time Olympian and former world record holder, Uta was ranked the #1 woman marathon runner in the world in 1994 and 1995, and she was featured on numerous leading magazine covers as the people’s champion.
Today, Uta divides her energies between her public speaking series, Running To Freedom™ and her international charitable organization, Take The Magic Step® in addition to coaching the runners of the Hoyt Foundation in preparation for their 2015 Boston Marathon in support of the mission of legendary Dick and Rick Hoyt, to raise awareness of, and help, the physically challenged.
Constantina Diţă is one of the most successful Romanian athletes of all-time, currently holding the Romanian national road records for the 5K, 10K, 15K, Half Marathon and the Marathon.
Winning gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Photo courtesy constantinadita.com
Diţă finished 20th in the marathon at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and went on to win the Chicago Marathon later that year, running a personal best of 2:21:30. After winning the marathon bronze at the 2005 World Championships, she became the World Half Marathon Champion. She won a silver medal at the 2006 IAAF World Road Running Championships and took third place at the 2007 London Marathon. In her career highlight, Diţă won the women’s marathon at the 2008 Summer Olympics in 2:26:44, becoming the oldest Olympic marathon champion in history (male or female) at age 38. She lives and trains at altitude in Boulder and continues her running career, competing the marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
2014 Colorado Running Hall of Fame:
photo via: runningfreeonline.com
Priscilla Welch began her remarkable running career at the age of 35, when she quit smoking and took up running under the guidance of her husband and coach, Dave Welch, and ran the 1980 London Marathon. Four years later, she qualified for the British Olympic team at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, placing sixth in the inaugural women’s Olympic marathon. On her 40th birthday, Welsh qualified for the Masters division and began setting age group world records. In 1987, she won the New York Marathon in 2:30:17. This was coupled with her second place finish in London where she set an age group world record running a 2:26:51, earning the sixth fastest time in the world in 1987, and holding the women’s masters marathon world record for 21 years. Welch again set an age group world record in the 1988 Boston Marathon in 2:30:48, holding the record for 14 years. Welch continued to run until a 1992 bout with breast cancer curtailed her career and she moved from her longtime home of Boulder to Tabernash, in the high country of Colorado, later relocating to Bend, Oregon.
2014 Colorado Running Hall of Fame:
Jane Welzel is a five-time Olympic Trials Marathon participant (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2000). She has won several marathons including the 1979 Nittany Valley Marathon (2:48:47), the 1983 Philadelphia Marathon (2:36:18), and the 1988 Hokkaido Marathon (2:40:53). Following a terrible car accident in 1984 that broke her neck and left her in a body cast for three months, Welzel amazingly recovered, again qualifying for the Olympic Trials, and was named Runners World Comeback Runner of the Year in 1988. She went on to become the National Marathon Champion in 1990 (2:33:24) and then win the 1992 Grandma’s Marathon in 2:33:01, setting a personal best. She was the 1996 USATF National 25K Champion (open and master) (1:29:47), both the 1996 and 1997 USATF Master Runner of the year, as well as the 1997 Runners World Master Runner of the year.
2013 Colorado Running Hall of Fame:
Lidia Simon is an elite long-distance runner, earning a silver medal in the marathon at the 2000 Sydney Olympics where she represented Romania. She competed in five Olympic Marathons (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012). She is a six-time participant at the World Championships in Athletics, winning gold in 2001 and taking bronze medals at the Marathon World Championships in 1997 and 1999. She holds three victories at the Osaka Ladies Marathon (1998, 1999, and 2000) and set her personal best during her win in 2000 at 2:22:54. She placed 1st in the 2007 Toray Cup Shanghai Marathon. She also won the first edition of the combined Osaka Marathon in 2011, and then again in 2012. Her half-marathon personal best time of 1:08:34 is the Romanian national record and she won the Bolder Boulder in 1999 and the Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon in 2011.
2013 Colorado Running Hall of Fame:
Joe Vigil was head coach at Adams State College for nearly 30 years. Vigil led teams to 12 NAIA National Cross Country Championships and the 1995 NCAA Division II National Cross Country Championship, the last with a perfect score of 15 points. In cross-country and track & field, Vigil’s teams won a total of 19 national championships. His overall record at Adams State stands at 94.2 percent with 3,014 wins and 176 losses. Vigil was named National Coach of the Year on 14 different occasions. He also produced 425 All Americans and 87 individual national champions during his tenure at Adams State. Vigil has also had success in coaching post-collegiate athletes, including 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist in the marathon, Deena Drossin Kastor. He has served on 17 international coaching staffs including the World Cross Country Championships, the Pan American Games, the World Championships, and the Olympic Games.
Coach Doris Brown-Heritage, Deena Drossin, Coach Joe Vigil, 2003 World XC, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Jon Sinclair’s career has been marked by consistency and longevity as a road racer with more wins and placings than any other male runner in modern road racing history. While at Colorado State University, Jon Sinclair set several long distance records, competed on two NCAA Cross Country teams along with the NCAA indoor nationals, and in 1979 he won two All-American awards. From 1981 to 1993, Jon Sinclair won 25 long distance road races. In 1984 he was the USA National 10,000 meter track champion and a finalist for the 5,000 meters in the 1984 Olympics along with being a finalist in the marathon in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics. He is the current U.S. record holder for the 12km on the roads and former U.S. record holder for the 5km on the roads. Among numerous international team-racing achievements, Jon Sinclair is the all time cumulative men’s point leader in the Runner’s World Road Race Rankings. In 1995, he co-founded Anaerobic Management, an internet based coaching business.
Frank Shorter is an American former long-distance runner and is credited with igniting the running boom in the United States of the 1970s. Frank Shorter is the only American athlete to win two medals in the Olympic marathon event. He won the gold medal in the marathon at the 1972 Summer Olympics, after finishing fifth in the Olympic 10,000m final. He also won the silver medal in the marathon at the 1976 Summer Olympics.
Shorter first achieved distinction by winning the 1969 NCAA 10,000m title during his senior year at Yale. He won his first U.S. national titles in 1970 in the 5000m and 10,000m events. He also was the U.S. national 10,000m champion in 1971, 1974, 1975 and 1977. Shorter won the U.S. National Cross Country Championships four times (1970, 1971, 1972, 1973). He was the U.S. Olympic Trials Champion in both the 10,000m run and the marathon in both 1972 and 1976. He also won both the 10,000m and the marathon at the 1971 Pan American Games. Shorter was a four-time winner of the Fukuoka Marathon (1971, 1972, 1973, 1974). A long-time resident of Boulder, Colorado, Frank co-founded the Bolder Boulder in 1979.
Pat Porter was one of the most dominant U.S. distance runners of the 1980s. Pat was a two time U.S. Olympian, running the 10,000m at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic games. In 1983 he set the World Record for a road 10K at 27:31.8. He won the silver medal at the 1985 IAAF World Cup, barely missing gold by six hundredths of a second. Pat was best known for his cross-country running accomplishments, winning a record eight consecutive USA Cross Country Championships from 1982 to 1989. Pat also represented the United States at the World Cross Country Championships each of these years. His best finish at the World Championships was 4th in 1984, followed by 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th place finishes throughout his career. On July 26, 2012, Pat was killed in an airplane crash along with his 15-year old son Connor and his son’s friend. Only days before his death, Pat had been inducted into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs and was also inducted into the Adams State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000 in Alamosa, Colorado. He was 53 years old.
1988 U.S. Olympic trials. Photo Credit – Courtesy Of Porter Family
Photo: IAIN McGREGOR/Waikato Times
Lorraine Moller is a former athlete from New Zealand who competed in track athletics and later specialized in the marathon. Lorraine’s international career lasted over 20 years and included three Commonwealth and four Olympic Games. She won the bronze medal in the marathon at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona at the age of 37. In 1985, Lorraine broke the New Zealand 1,500m record, running 4:10.35 at Brussels. Lorraine ran her first marathon on in 1979, winning Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota in 2:37:37. The time was the fastest ever by a New Zealander and the sixth fastest ever run by a woman. She then won her next seven marathons. She was a triple winner of the Osaka Ladies Marathon, and in 1984 won the Boston Marathon. Lorraine ran the marathon in four Olympic Games: 1984, placing 5th (2:28:34); 1988, placing 33rd (2:37:52);1992 placing 3rd (2:33:59); and 1996 placing 46th (2:42:21). She also won the silver medal at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, running 2:28:17, her lifetime best.