Welch's toughest race is her run against cancer RUNNING

September 07, 1993|By Michael Reeb | Michael Reeb,Staff Writer

Priscilla Welch has waged some epic battles -- two Olympic marathons and a New York City Marathon victory -- but the one she is in figures to be her toughest.

That's because this year Welch, 48, was diagnosed as having breast cancer. Surgery and chemotherapy followed, and Welch -- a breast cancer survivor -- has taken the first steps to returning to running.

"It takes you off the throne and back to basics," Welch said last week from her home outside of Boulder, Colo. "I am beginning my running career again. I won't be doing anything speed-wise until mid-November."

Welch will be on hand in Baltimore Oct. 2 to participate in Race for the Cure -- the proceeds of which will provide breast health care and education for medically under-served women in Baltimore and help to fund national research.

"The last two weeks I've been feeling good," Welch said. "My hair is growing back and I'm coming along nicely."

Race for the Cure gives her the opportunity to spread goodwill as well as remain close to the sport she loves.

"I've been back in training for 10 weeks," Welch said. "I'm getting my endurance back again and getting used to the pounding of running again. It's a bit of a frustrating time for me -- the mind is ahead of the body. But I have to just be patient."

That could be difficult for someone who finished sixth in the first women's Olympic Marathon in 1984 just five years after she began running, but she says she is richer for the experience.

"I've been talking to a lot of women who had breast cancer -- some many years ago, some not so long ago," she said. "I feel I'm a member of a big club again. It teaches you to go with the flow."

Having participated in a Race for the Cure in Peoria, Ill., she will participate in her third such race here in Baltimore.

"I just signed up for one in Portland [Ore.], so that's three I'm helping out with. The rest [of the national Race for the Cure series] will probably be attended to by the New Balance girls," says Welch, who is sponsored by Nike.

She hopes to return to competitive racing in the spring.

"My chief concern is the 10K," Welch said, "but it's always possible that I'll do a marathon. I've just had the surgery and chemotherapy and I don't know what the chemicals have done to my body."

Through it all, Welch has remained a believer in the benefits of physical fitness, as well as the power of the mind.

"If your mind is healthy, a lot of times you can help to heal yourself," she said. "I'm not disclaiming medication, but if things get really sinister, sometimes you can recover a lot quicker."

Briefly

The first Race for the Cure was held in Dallas in 1983. Sincer then, 34 sites have been added. . . . Baltimore's Race for the Cure will include a 5K run/walk for women, a 5K wheelchair race and a 1-mile fun walk for all. For information, call race director Dave Cooley at (410) 494-8649. . . . Volunteers are needed for the Race for the Cure. All volunteers will receive a free T-shirt. Call (410) 764-7000, extension 5910.

Brad Uhlfelder, 32, successfully defended his title in yesterday's Provident Bank Labor Day 8K Run at St. Agnes Hospital. There were 566 finishers.

The week's top finishers:

SUNDAY

RASAC Sweet Air Trail Run 5-miler

At Sweet Air

Males: 1. Nathan Boyer, 31:21; 2. Rick Schneider, 33:40; 3. Rick Schmidt, 34:15; 4. Jerry Vega, 35:10; 5. Gary Reilly, 36:10; 6. John Sullivan, 36:15; 7. Dave Starnes, 36:38; 8. Dan Anderson, 36:51; 9. Joe Fleckenstein, 36:59; 10. Mike Heiberger, 37:05.

Females: 1. Margaret Starnes, 36:21; 2. Mary Leffel, 38:15; 3. Christy Moon, 42:06; 4. Lyn Gilbert, 48:45; 5. Barbara Stroud, 49:38; 6. Jeannette Novak, 53:26.

MONDAY

Provident Bank Labor Day 8K Run

At St. Agnes Hospital

Males: 1. Brad Uhlfelder, 32, 25:03; 2. Robert Magin, 22, 26:14; 3. Neville Anderson, 31, 26:40; 4. Scott Paris, 32, 27:10; 5. Murray Chesno, 22, 27:16; 6. Frank John IV, 24, 27:19; 7. Oscar Gomez, 31, 27:29; 8. Dennis Contors, 32, 27:41; 9. Raymond Kirchner, 36, 28:10; 10. John Kavanagh, 38, 28:17. Masters: 1. James Sampson, 42, 29:18.

Females: 1. Bea Marie Fritsch, 26, 29:18; 2. Maureen Hall, 28, 30:22; 3. Laura Scofer, 34, 30:37; 4. Mary Gagon, 27, 30:49; 5. Denise Knickman, 25, 30:53; 6. Carole Rosasco, 34, 32:44; 7. Laura Wagner-Tebodo, 30, 33:38; 8. Gloria Ackerman, 32, 33:47; 9. Nelda Clelland, 35, 33:53; 10. Sharon Heidel, 42, 34:16. Masters: 1. Heidel.

Coming events

Saturday, BRRC A Place for Your Pace, Loch Raven Reservoir, 8 a.m., (410) 666-1840.

Saturday, WRRC Otterdale Mill 5-Mile Run, Taneytown, 8 a.m., (410) 751-1035.

Saturday, Crofton RC 2M, 5M, Crofton, 8 a.m., (410) 721-0595.

Saturday, Hampshire Heritage Days 10K, Romney, W. Va., (304) 822-3414.

Sunday, BRRC Executive Stampede 6M, Hunt Valley, 8 a.m., (410) 666-1840.

Sunday, Annapolis Striders' Dawson's Severna Park 5-Mile Run, Severna Park, 8 a.m., (410) 268-1165.

Sunday, Aberdeen 5K Run, Aberdeen Festival Park, 8:30 a.m., (410) 272-0165.

Sunday, Queen City Striders' Women's Distance Festival 5K, Rocky Gap State Park, 9 a.m., (301) 724-2464.

Sunday, Run for the Homeless 10K, Washington, 9 a.m., (202) 347-8870.

Sept. 18, Run the Rail 8K, Northern Central Railroad Trail, (410) 882-6103.

Sept. 18, BRRC A Place for Your Pace, Loch Raven Reservoir, 8 a.m., (410) 666-1840.

Sept. 18, Frederick Steeple Chasers' Women's Distance Festival Frederick, 9 a.m., (301) 371-7675.

Sept. 19, HCS Columbia Birthday Marathon, Columbia, 7 a.m., (410) 730-3566.

Sept. 19, BRRC 15K Ashland Trail, Ashland, 8 a.m., (410) 666-1840.

Sept. 19, Light Rail Run 7-miler, Lutherville, 8:30 a.m., (410) 494-8649.

Sept. 19, RASAC Plumb Point 5K, APG-Aberdeen Area, 9 a.m., (410) 838-0871.

Sept. 19, Wheeling in the Wilderness mountain bike race, Patapsco State Park, (410) 882-6103.

Sept. 23, Gas Mask Dash 5K, 2-miler, APG-Edgewood Area, 5K at 5 p.m., 2-miler at 6 p.m., (410) 879-2168.

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