Heavy smoker becomes endurance runner – Peggy Davidson | TheUnion.com

Heavy smoker becomes endurance runner – Peggy Davidson

Eileen JoycePeggy Davidson leads a group of kids in stretching exercises as Peter Roediger, 8, follows at the track at Nevada Union High School Tuesday. Davidson helps to teach a running program for kids.
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In June, for the third time, Peggy Davidson, 46, of Grass Valley, completed a 100-mile endurance run. Beginning in Squaw Valley, Peggy finished at Auburn High School 28 hours later. Her husband, Greg, supported her along the way, providing food, drink and encouragement.

Six years ago, a more unlikely competitor could not be found. Heavy smoking had left Davidson so short of breath she couldn’t blow out birthday candles. Moreover, she had no experience with sports.

Invited on a hike to Sierra Buttes, Davidson found herself hopelessly out of shape. A friend suggested running on a local track to prepare for hiking. Davidson couldn’t complete a single lap the first day. Undaunted, she didn’t give up. She continued running.

After volunteering at an endurance run and seeing participants of all ages, sizes and shapes, Davidson realized, “I could do it!”

From the dismal beginning six years ago to running 100-mile endurance runs requires support (Davidson thanks the Sierra Trailblazers Club) and discipline. Weekdays at 5 a.m., Davidson runs for one hour. Weekends, she does one or two long-distance runs.

Squeezing in training time isn’t easy given her other responsibilities. Davidson is raising two grandchildren, 6 and 11, while working full-time at Nevada Irrigation District.

“Besides improving my health, running also reduces stress. I feel good about myself – when I’m on the trail and when I finish.” Davidson 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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