Priscilla Welch, Constantina Dita among 2014 class that will be inducted in Denver on Wednesday, April 9
DENVER -- The Colorado Running Hall of Fame Selection Committee announces the 2014 inductees into the Colorado Running Hall of Fame: Constantina Dita, Simon Gutierrez, Anita Ortiz, Rick Trujillo, and Priscilla Welch. The 8th annual induction ceremony and reception will be held on Wednesday, April 9th at the Denver Athletic Club. Olympic running legend Frank Shorter, an inductee in the inaugural 2007 class, will be the keynote speaker. The Colorado Running Hall of Fame recognizes Coloradans for their remarkable achievement and influence on the sport of distance running.
Constantina Dita 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. Dita 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, Dita 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.
Simon Gutierrez is versatile athlete as a three-time member of the USA National Cross Country team, an Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon, and is a seven-time member of the USA National Mountain Team. He is a three-time World Masters Mountain Overall Champion (2006, 2007, and 2008) and has won the La Luz mountain race in New Mexico a record ten times. He is a three-time Champion in the Pikes Peak Ascent as well as Mt. Washington Road Race. Gutierrez is also a mountain representative to the USATF Mountain, Ultra, and Trail Running Council and in 2005 he was named the USATF Mountain Runner of the Year. Now 48, Gutierrez is enjoying a career as a physical therapist in Colorado Springs.
Anita Ortiz started racing at age 36, building her career in Mountain Running, Ultra Running and snowshoe racing, competing in over 200 races and breaking 55 records in just nine years. She has competed on the U.S. Mountain Running team five times, placing highest U.S. finisher four times. She was the Mountain Running National Champion in 2002 and 2003 as well as the Masters Mountain Running World Champion in 2004. She’s won the Pikes Peak Ascent three times, setting and holding the record time for five years in 2002 in 2:44:33. Ortiz was also the National Snowshoe Champion in 2002 and runner-up in 2004. She was named the USATF Female Mountain Runner of the Year in both 2002 and 2003 and the USATF Female Masters Mountain Runner of the Year in 2004. A kindergarten teacher and mother of four, Anita is still active in the racing community, serving as Board member for the All American Trail Running Association, the United States Snowshoe Association, and coaching elementary students on the Eagle Valley Elementary Running Team.
Rick Trujillo is considered a pioneer in the sport of mountain running, earning his reputation as an elite and unconventional runner over his long career. Trujillo enjoyed an early cross-country running career in high school and college, but later preferred mountain running. He is a five-time champion of the Pikes Peak Marathon, holding the course record from 1973-1982. He founded the Imogene Pass Run, winning the race several times and holding the course record from 1974-1985. In 1995, at age 47, Trujillo ascended Colorado's 54 14,000-foot peaks in record time of 15 days, nine hours, and 55 minutes. He also won the Hardrock 100 Mile Run (66,000 feet of ascent and descent with average elevation of 11,000 feet) in 1996. Trujillo has never yielded to traditional training conventions, making his achievements that much more impactful.
Priscilla Welch began her remarkable running career at the age of 35, when she quit her heavy smoking habit 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.
“With such a deep pool of remarkable running talent in Colorado, it never gets easier to select inductees for the Colorado Running Hall of Fame,” said John Tope, Chair of the Selection Committee for the Colorado Running Hall of Fame. “The committee is delighted to recognize this remarkable and diverse group for 2014, recognizing Olympians, World team members and pioneers of our sport.”
The event will also feature the High School Achievement Awards, recognizing remarkable high school distance runners not only for athletic achievement but also community leadership and character. This year’s High School Achievement Awards recipients are Jr. Daniel Book, Cherry Creek High School; Jr. Jordyn Colter, Cherry Creek High School; Sr. Darby Gilfillan, George Washington High School; Sr. Carson Hume, Dakota Ridge High School; Soph. Katie Rainsberger, Air Academy; and Sr. Bailey Roth, Coronado High School.
This event is open to the public, with a limited number of tickets available for purchase at $25 per person at corunninghalloffame.com