Henry Marsh
Personal information
Birth nameHenry Dinwoodey Marsh
Full nameHenry Dinwoodey Marsh, Esq.[1]
Born (1954-03-15) March 15, 1954 (age 70)
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Alma materPunahou High School
Height178 cm (5 ft 10 in)[2]
Weight72 kg (159 lb)
SportTrack and field
Rank1st-World (1981, 1982, 1985)
Top 10-World (1977-1988)
Event3000 m steeplechase
University teamBrigham Young University Cougars[2]
ClubAthletics West[2]
Coached byAlan Hazzard "Al" Rowan and Clarence Robison[3]
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)1500m – 3:43.52 (1985)[2]
Mile – 3:59.31 (1985)
2 miles – 8:33.90i (1984)
5000m – 13:45.2 (1984)
3000m steeplechase – 8:09.17 (1985)
Medal record
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Pan American Games
Gold medal – first place 1979 San Juan 3000m steeplechase
Silver medal – second place 1987 Indianapolis 3000m steeplechase
World Cup
Silver medal – second place 1985 Canberra 3000m steeplechase
Goodwill Games
Silver medal – second place 1986 Moscow 3000m steeplechase

Henry Dinwoodey Marsh (born March 15, 1954) is a retired runner from the United States, who made four U.S. Olympic teams[4] and represented his native country in the men's 3,000 meter Steeplechase in three Summer Olympics, from 1976 through 1988.


Junior high school

Marsh's athletic career started in Richardson, Texas at Northwood Junior High School, where he started as a quarterback for an unsuccessful football team. He had more success with the track and field team that next spring.[5]

High School

Marsh moved to Hawai'i, in both years at Punahou High School, he was the state champ in the mile with a personal best of 4:18:6 and was the co-captain his senior year. He was inducted into the Punahou Hall of Fame in 1990.[6]


Marsh went to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. After his freshman year, he took 2 years off, in Brazil, when he came back he qualified for the NCAAs with 8:55. Then he broke the BYU record when he ran 8:27 at the NCAAs and subsequently qualified for the 1976 Olympic trials.[3] At the NCAAs he was 2nd in 1976 and 3rd in 1977 and 1978.[2] He was an All-American five times.[7][6][8] In 1978, he also won the national title.[9]

Marsh had the second longest lasting (most enduring) running record in BYU history.[8][10] (The most enduring running record belongs to Ralph Mann, who set a record in the 400-meter dash in 1970 and has yet to be broken.)[11] Marsh's BYU record of 8:21.60, set in 1977, in the 3,000-meter steeplechase lasted 46 years,[12][5] before Kenneth Rooks broke the steeplechase record with a time of 8:17.62[10] on May 8th, 2023.[13]


1976 Montréal Olympics

In 1976, while a sophomore at BYU, Marsh qualified for the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montréal, Québec, Canada, at the Olympics he got tenth place with 8:23.99.[13]

1980 Moscow Olympics

Marsh qualified for the 1980 US Olympic team but was unable to compete due to the 1980 Summer Olympics boycott. He did however receive one of 461 Congressional Gold Medals created especially for the spurned athletes.[14] Track & Field News ranked him the number one steeplechaser in the world for 1981, 1982, and 1985. Moreover, he was world ranked (i.e., top 10) in this event for 12 consecutive years, 1977-1988. Marsh broke the American Record for the steeplechase on four occasions: 8:21.55 (July 5, 1977), 8:15.68 (June 28, 1980), 8:12.37 (August 17, 1983), and 8:09.17 (August 28, 1985); the last mark lasted almost 21 years until Daniel Lincoln ran 8:08.82 in Rome on July 14, 2006.[15][16]

1984 Los Angeles Olympics

During the 1984 Olympic Games, Marsh entered the event with a #2 world ranking. On race day for the 3,000 meter steeplechase finals, Marsh finished fourth (losing out on the bronze medal to teammate Brian Diemer by only 0.19 seconds), then collapsed to the track and was carried out of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on a gurney.

1988 Seoul Olympics

Marsh won with 8:34:74 in his last 3,000 meter steeplechase race in the United States for the Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, coming from behind, passing Kregg Einspahr at the final hurdle for the win, before heading to Seoul, South Korea for the Olympics.[17] He placed 6th with 8:14:39 in the 3,000-Meter steeplechase at the 1988 Summer Olympics, then he retired from racing.[2] This was his fourth Olympic Games and he was ranked in the top 10 in the world for 12 years, much of the time at number one, but never earned an Olympic medal.[18]

Pan American Games

At Pan American Games, Marsh won a gold medal in 1979 and a silver medal in 1987.[19]

Goodwill Games

Marsh won a silver medal in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 1986 Goodwill Games in Moscow, Soviet Union.

World Cups

In 1979, Marsh came in 4th place at the 1979 IAAF World Cup in Montréal, Québec, Canada.
In 1981, he originally won, but was disqualified for failing to clear the penultimate water jump at the 1981 IAAF World Cup in Rome, Italy.
In 1985, he won a silver medal at the 1985 IAAF World Cup in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.

World Championships

In 1983, placed 8th in the first-ever World Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
In 1987, placed 6th in the second World Championships in Rome, Italy.

Honors, awards, records and accolades

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.[20][21] He has been considered as one of the best steeplechase runners in American history.[9] In the 1970s and 1980s, he was the greatest steeplechase runner in the United States of America.[2] In 1998, he became an Honoree (was inducted) into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame.[22] In 2001, he was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame.[23]

Accomplishing life-long goal/dream

Marsh was only two months old when Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile, in less than four minutes, doing it in 3:59.4. A feat that scientists tried to prove that it could not be done; that is why it was so important to Marsh to run a sub-4-minute mile. Marsh had stopped running mile races and focused on the 3,000-meter steeplechase at BYU; this is why it was so late in his running/racing career that he finally set out to do this elite feat.[24] In 1985, at the age of 31, near the end of his racing career, he joined the sub-4 minute group of milers with a 3:59.31 run at Bern, Switzerland on August 16, becoming the oldest person to run his first sub-four minute mile.[6]

In popular culture

In March 1986, Marsh was featured in "16 Days of Glory", a documentary about the 1984 Summer Olympics, in Los Angeles, California.[25] To view the show on YouTube, select this link.[26]

Racing style

Marsh was known for starting races in back with the pack and come-from-behind fantastic finishes.[3] When Kenneth Rooks (a fellow BYU Cougar and 3,000-meter steeplechaser), fell on the 8th of July, 2023, in Eugene, Oregon, he told himself to go into "Henry Marsh mode". Rooks also said that he was surprised how well he was able to execute his "Marsh Strategy" as he ran personal best 8.16.78 and won the race.[27]

Post-racing career

After graduating with a law degree, Marsh worked for a prominent Salt Lake City law firm, for 3.5 years before deciding that he didn't want to practice law anymore.[1]


Marsh was a guest speaker at the "Gorge-Us Getaway", along with national director of BSA public affairs, Julian Dyke, and Orrin Hatch, United States Senator, to 5,000 Boy Scouts, to promote Utah National Parks.[28] He has also given free nutrition and fitness seminars together with the director of the Human Performance Research Center at Brigham Young University, Dr. A. Garth Fisher.[29]

Personal life

Marsh was a co-founder of MonaVie, a multi-level marketing (MLM) company that folded in 2015.[citation needed] He served as executive vice-president and later as the company's Vice Chairman of the Board.[citation needed] According to Forbes, MonaVie's business plan resembled a pyramid scheme.[citation needed] He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,[30][31] and he was their second member to qualify for 4 Olympic Games.[4] He spent two years on mission in Brazil.[32] He was one of three return missionaries to participate in the 1988 Summer Olympics along with Doug Padilla and Ed Eyestone,[4] and commented at a church fireside meeting in Seoul, South Korea, that if he had not gone on a mission that he would have never participated in any Olympic Games.[33] In 2008, the Sacramento Bee noted that Marsh was a major financial supporter (two donations totalling $90,000) of Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative to eliminate same-sex marriage rights.[34] He moved to Twin Falls, Idaho, for his retirement.[3]


All results regarding 3000 metres steeplechase.

Representing  United States
Year Tournament Venue Result Time
1976 Olympic Games Montreal, Quebec, Canada 10th 8:23.99
1979 Pan American Games San Juan, Puerto Rico 1st 8:43.6
World Cup Montreal, Canada 4th 8:30.09
1981 World Cup Rome, Italy DISQ (8:19.61)
1983 World Championships Helsinki, Finland 8th 8:20.45
1984 Olympic Games Los Angeles, California, United States 4th 8:14.25
1985 World Cup Canberra, Australia 2nd 8:39.55
1986 Goodwill Games Moscow, Russia 2nd 8:23.92
1987 Pan American Games Indianapolis, United States 2nd 8:23.77
World Championships Rome, Italy 6th 8:17.78
1988 Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea 6th 8:14.39


  1. ^ a b Robinson, Doug (August 11, 2008). "Henry Marsh: a success story". www.deseret.com. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Olympedia - Henry Marsh". www.olympedia.org. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d McCann, Dave (July 11, 2023). "What does former Olympian Henry Marsh think about Kenneth Rooks? 'He has the 'it' factor'. Former Olympian says he was flattered to hear Rooks say he had to get in 'Henry Marsh mode' after falling at USA Championships". www.desert.com. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c Church News Archives (July 29, 1988). "Olympic notebook". www.thechurchnews.com. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  5. ^ a b McCann, Dave (July 11, 2023). "What does former Olympian Henry Marsh think about Kenneth Rooks? 'He has the 'it' factor'. Former Olympian says he was flattered to hear Rooks say he had to get in 'Henry Marsh mode' after falling at USA Championships". www.deseret.com. Retrieved September 29, 2023.
  6. ^ a b c Robinson, Doug (May 6, 2014). "After 60 years, sub-4-minute mile still the standard for runners". www.deseret.com. Retrieved September 29, 2023.
  7. ^ Brady, Bill (Winter 2002). "Going the Distance". Y Magazine. Retrieved September 29, 2023.
  8. ^ a b Harmon, Dick (May 10, 2023). "Could BYU's receivers room be elite? Tall and talented, BYU receivers appear to have what it takes to compete when the Cougars open their first season of Big 12 football". www.deseret.com. Retrieved September 29, 2023.
  9. ^ a b McCann, Dave (July 10, 2023). "After made-for-Hollywood finish, what's next for BYU's Kenneth Rooks? Will steeplechaser chase pro dreams or return this fall to the Cougars?". www.deseret.com. Retrieved September 29, 2023.
  10. ^ a b Robinson, Doug (July 4, 2023). "Conner Mantz headlines big Utah contingent at USA track and field championships. Mantz will be one of a dozen current or former BYU athletes who will compete in the championships Thursday through Sunday". www.deseret.com. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  11. ^ Robinson, Doug (April 21, 2023). "BYU runners continuing assault of the record book. Earlier this month, two female runners broke school records on the same day, and more records could fall this spring". www.deseret.com. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  12. ^ Robinson, Doug (May 23, 2023). "BYU sending eye-popping number of athletes to NCAA West preliminaries. Only Arkansas and Texas boast will have more athletes competing in Sacramento this week". www.deseret.com. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  13. ^ a b Robinson, Doug (May 8, 2023). "BYU's Kenneth Rooks takes down a legend's record. The junior steeplechaser set the American collegiate record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, breaking Henry Marsh's longstanding BYU record in the process". www.deseret.com. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  14. ^ Caroccioli, Tom; Caroccioli, Jerry (2008). Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. Highland Park, IL: New Chapter Press. pp. 243–253. ISBN 978-0942257403.
  15. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Track & Field News • View topic - Henry Marsh Steeplechase Record in 1977?". Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  17. ^ Associated Press (July 2, 1988). "MARSH WINS 3,000-METER STEEPLECHASE. HENRY PULLS AHEAD BY 80 METERS TO WIN HIS FINAL RACE AT HAYWARD FIELD". Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  18. ^ Benson, Lee; Robinson, Doug (January 1, 1992). Trials & Triumphs/Mormons in the Olympic Games. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Company. Retrieved October 13, 2023.
  19. ^ "Olympedia - Olympians Who Won a Medal at the Summer Pan American Games". www.olympedia.org. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  20. ^ "USATF - Statistics - USA Outdoor Track & Field Champions". Archived from the original on June 10, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  21. ^ "USATF - Awards - Glenn Cunningham Award". Archived from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  22. ^ "Hall of Fame 1990s - Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation". www.utahsportshalloffame.org. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  23. ^ Litsky, Frank (November 15, 2001). "TRACK AND FIELD; Salazar and Lewis Among 4 Entering Hall". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  24. ^ Robinson, Doug (April 26, 2021). "How a pair of BYU runners joined exclusive club — on the same day. BYU's Casey Clinger and Lucas Bons became only the second and third runners to break the four-minute-mile mark on Utah soil at last Saturday's Robison Invitational". www.deseret.com. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  25. ^ Goodman, Walter (March 7, 1986). "FILM: '16 DAYS OF GLORY,' ON LOS ANGELES OLYMPICS". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  26. ^ Greenspan (March 7, 1986). 16 Days of Glory. www.youtube.com. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  27. ^ Toone, Trent (July 11, 2023). "Latter-day Saint Kenneth Rooks reflects on national championship race, gospel blessings. BYU men's track coach Ed Eyestone calls Rooks' inspirational race a 'performance for the ages'". www.thechurchnews.com. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  28. ^ Palmer, Allen (August 31, 1990). "Some 5,000 Scouts discover strengths in challenges". www.thechurchnews.com. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  29. ^ Cannon, Mike (June 23, 1989). "Fitness: a time to take action". www.thechurchnews.com. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  30. ^ Mormon Olympians Archived 2008-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Deseret News 1999-2000 Church Almanac. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News. 1998. p. 555. ISBN 1573454915.
  32. ^ "Henry Marsh Athlete Profile | the Official Site of BYU Athletics". Archived from the original on February 22, 2015. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  33. ^ Benson, Lee (September 30, 1988). "LDS Olympians entertain and entertained, Korean fireside gives athletes opportunity to share testimonies". www.thechurchnews.com. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  34. ^ "Biggest supporters of Prop 8". Sacramento Bee. November 13, 2008. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
Sporting positions Preceded by Mariano Scartezzini Men's 3.000m Steeple Best Year Performance 1982 — 1983 Succeeded by Joseph Mahmoud Preceded by Joseph Mahmoud Men's 3.000m Steeple Best Year Performance 1985 Succeeded by William Van Dijck