- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"Living in a village that's in the middle of nowhere like that, you do a lot of walking," says David. "It was 12 miles to the nearest town."
The Welches faced athletic hardship together in 1981 when David transferred to the rugged Shetland Islands for two years. They ran together there despite snow, dark winter days and winds that sometimes reached 100 mph and literally blew them off their feet. "It was just like a rock, a volcanic rock, with some peat on top and sheep hanging off and a lot of alcoholics," recalls Priscilla. In winter the Welches ran in spiked boots and wore miners' helmets to light their paths.
After David retired from the military in 1985, they moved to Boulder so he could study neuromuscular therapy at the University of Colorado and so she could train at high altitude. Before Sunday she had run 25 marathons, the fastest being a 2:26:51 in London in May.
Given the absence of eight-time New York champion Grete Waitz, who was sidelined with a stress fracture of her right foot, Welch's chance for victory in New York was greatly enhanced. She prepared for it like no race before. Now it paid off. When she crossed the line under a rainbow arch of balloons in 2:30:17, 1:05 ahead of Fran�oise Bonnet of France, she became the oldest New York champion ever. Only countrywoman Joyce Smith, who won the London Marathon at age 44 in 1982, had accomplished such a feat at so advanced an age. "I don't know how you're supposed to feel at 40," said Welch.
Hussein had already wrapped up the men's title in 2:11:01, 52 seconds ahead of runner-up Gianni DeMadonna of Italy, to become New York's first African champ. Petersen had been passed by both DeMadonna and third-place finisher Pete Pfitzinger in the final 200 yards to end up fourth.
"This has never been a race of names," insisted Lebow. "This event has always created names—Salazar, Pizzolato, Poli, Waitz, Roe." Add to that list Welch and Hussein, each of whom received a first-prize check worth $25,000 and a new Mercedes.
"This is still new to me," said Welch, sounding and looking like a woman 10 years younger. "I'm still having fun with it." On Sunday, the record book will note, she shared that fun with the Big Apple.