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by Carole Carson, AARP Bulletin, September 29, 2008
For the third time, Peggy Davidson, 52, completed a 100-mile endurance run. Beginning in the Lake Tahoe area at a ski resort, Peggy finished in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada 28 hours later. Her husband, Greg, supported her along the way, providing food, drink, and encouragement.
Six years before, a more unlikely competitor could not be found. Heavy smoking had left Peggy, of Grass Valley, Calif., so short of breath that she couldn't blow out birthday candles. Moreover, she had no experience with sports.
Invited on a hike with some friends, Peggy found herself hopelessly out of shape. A friend suggested running on a local track to prepare for hiking. On the first day, Peggy couldn't complete a single lap. Undaunted, she didn't give up. She continued running.
After volunteering at an endurance run and seeing participants of all ages, sizes, and shapes, Peggy realized, she said, "I could do it!"
Participating in 100-mile endurance runs requires support (Peggy thanked her running and hiking club for that) and discipline. Weekdays at 5 a.m., Peggy runs for one hour. Weekends, she does one or two long-distance runs.
Squeezing in training time isn't easy given her other responsibilities. Peggy raises two grandchildren while working full time.
"Besides improving my health, running also reduces stress," says Peggy. "I feel good about myself—when I'm on the trail and when I finish." She is convinced "anyone can finish a run if they set their mind to it." Perhaps she's right, but her achievement is impressive!
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