Henry Marsh: Mormon Athlete

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Henry Marsh Mormon Athlete
Henry Marsh, center, at the head of the pack

Henry Dinwoodey Marsh is a former world-class distance runner who qualified for four U.S. Olympic teams and competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in three Olympics: the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games (placed sixth), the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games (placed fourth), and the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games (placed tenth). The United States boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. He placed first in the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1980 and 1984, and second in 1976 and 1988.

Marsh was born on March 15, 1954, in Boston, Massachusetts. He ran at Brigham Young University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and pre-law in 1978. He graduated from the University of Oregon Law School in 1981 while running for Nike shoes.

He was All-American in 1976 for both cross-country and steeplechase, in 1977 for steeplechase, and in 1978 for both cross-country and steeplechase. He was inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame in 1988. He set the American record four times and was ranked three times as the number one steeplechaser in the world (1981, 1982, and 1985). Marsh was the American champion in the steeplechase nine times (1978, 1979, 1981–1987) and in 1983 received the Glenn Cunningham Award as the best distance runner in America.

Marsh was a two-time World Game Champion and nine-time U.S. National Champion. He was a member of three Pan American Games teams and won the 1979 steeplechase gold medal at those games. On August 16, 1985, Marsh broke the 4-minute mile with a time of 3:59.31 (in Bern, Switzerland).

He has experienced a varied post-competitive life. He has worked on the executive board of the United States Olympic Committee and as president of the Athletes' Advisory Council to the USOC. He has also been a consultant to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. He practiced law in Salt Lake City for just over three years, worked as a sportscaster for KSL-TV for almost two years, and started Athletes Unlimited, which he stayed with for eighteen months. He was the national program director for Franklin International for over fifteen years, where he also traveled with a speaker’s circuit. He and three others founded MonaVie, a multilevel marketing company that sold a health juice made from the acai berry (and other fruits) from South America. The company experienced phenomenal growth but declined just as dramatically. In July 2014, MonaVie announced the retirement of the three founders and a Florida company acquired the foreclosed company.

Marsh is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served a full-time mission to Brazil. He is the father of six children, two of whom are adopted.