Vowing to practice what she teaches, Peggy Miles entered the Jim Click Hyundai Tucson Marathon. By participating in the grueling 26.2-mile event, the Payson High School physical education teacher reasoned she'd be setting a good example for her students.
But as much as she wanted to be a role model, she also thought of the Dec. 3 marathon as a tremendous personal challenge.
"It's something I've always wanted to do," she said.
The event turned into the daunting task she had expected, especially after the 22nd mile.
"That's where I hit the wall. Finishing became a mental thing, something I had to conquer," she said.
Rising to the challenge, the 43-year-old a mother of two completed the run in 4:53.08.
Near the finish, she received some much needed support from her husband Jim who was waiting to provide the encouragement she needed to struggle over the final few yards.
Although the run was physically and mentally exhausting, Miles is eagerly looking forward to next year's Tucson Marathon which she anticipates entering.
"Yes, I want to do it again," she said.
Miles trained for the marathon on a daily basis, running laps on the PHS track and during cross country runs with her students.
Also, it wasn't unusual to spot her in late afternoons running south on Beeline from Payson High to her home in Deer Creek about 14 miles away. Running, she says, is a way of life.
When she's not running, Miles can usually be found in the Lady Longhorn weight room engaged in strength training or encouraging students to become involved.
In addition to having an entry in the marathon, the Rim country was well represented at the half-Marathon, also held Dec. 3 in Tucson.
Longtime Payson runner Monica Savage finished 23rd in the 581-person field touring the course in 1:37.37. Savage participated in the 35-39 age division.
In the 55-59 division, Payson's Patsy Meyers finished in 2:08.45.
Elizabeth Rimmer, entered in the 50-54 division, ran a 2:17.09.