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Priscilla Welch

Priscilla June Welch (born 22 November 1944 in Bedford, England) is a British retired marathon runner. She had a most unlikely career in international athletics, having been a smoker of a pack a day until she began running competitively at age 35. An officer in the British Army, Welch met her husband Dave while serving in Norway. She quit smoking, and under his tutelage, she ran in the 1980 London Marathon at age 35.

Four years later, she qualified for the British Olympic team at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. In the first women's Olympic marathon, Welch finished sixth, remarkable for someone who was nearly 40 years old. 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 with a 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, good for the sixth fastest time in the world for 1987. She was criticised for passing up the chance to win a medal at the World Championships in Rome that year. Welch set the age group world record in Boston by running a 2:30:48 in 1988. This record stood for 14 years.

Welch continued to run until a 1992 bout with breast cancer curtailed her career. She currently resides in Bend, Oregon, with family living in Northampton, England.


  • All results regarding marathon, unless stated otherwise
Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing  United Kingdom
1983 Enschede Marathon Enschede, Netherlands 1st 2:36:32
1984 London Marathon London, United Kingdom 2nd 2:30:06
Olympic Games Los Angeles, United States 6th 2:28:54
1985 Pittsburgh Marathon Pittsburgh, United States 4th 2.34.35
Columbus Marathon Columbus, Ohio, United States 4th 2.38.06
New York Marathon New York, United States 5th 2.35.30
1987 London Marathon London, United Kingdom 2nd 2:26:51
New York City Marathon New York, United States 1st 2:30:17
1988 Boston Marathon Boston, United States 4th 2.30.53
1989 New York City Marathon New York, United States 12th 2:36:15


  • Marathon Leaders for 1987
  • Press Release, November 2003
  • sports-reference

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