Richfield's Peyton should challenge for Twin Cities Marathon title

  • Article by: CHRIS MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 3, 2013 - 12:10 PM

Meghan Peyton of Richfield easily won the U.S. national 20K last month. Now her sights are on the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday.

hide

National 20K champion Meghan Peyton would earn $25,000 — besides an award — with a win in the Twin Cities Marathon. She plans to stay with the lead pack Sunday.

Photo: ELIZABETH FLORES • ELIZABETH FLORES • eflores@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Meghan Peyton is very likely to finish a marathon for the first time Sunday, and it wouldn’t be surprising if she wins it.

But the drive she’ll find to compete at the Twin Cities Marathon — which is also the national championship for both men and women — comes directly from the first time she attempted the 26.2-mile distance.

“It was the first race I ever dropped out of, and I vowed it would be the last,” said the Team USA Minnesota standout. “I found out the hard way that dropping out was a lot worse than what my mind was telling me those last 2 miles would be like.”

Peyton’s first marathon attempt was at the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials in Houston, with probably the best women’s field in American history (78 runners broke 2 hours, 45 minutes). She developed a blood blister early, but her competitive instincts actually proved to be her downfall.

“I didn’t stick to my pace plan in the beginning stages and just got caught up in the competition,” she said. “I ended up paying for it and dropped out at Mile 24. I was physically capable of finishing, but I started to get passed by people and just mentally kind of broke down.

“I didn’t go into the Olympic trials marathon just wanting to finish a marathon. I was there to compete and wanted to finish real high. It was a lesson learned.”

Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker agrees.

“In the marathon, very few people feel really good in the last 4 or 5 miles, and that doesn’t mean you can’t keep running fast, it just means that it hurts,” he said. “Especially a first-time marathoner, you get to that point and you think, ‘Oh, man, I’m hurting more than I’ve ever hurt before.’

“Meghan might learn more from a race like that than if she would have had a spectacular first run. It’s been motivation for this one. Not just to finish it, but to really drive that last few miles and see what she can really do.”

A surprise title

Peyton, 27, is from Tualatin, Ore., where she was a six-time high school state track champion. As Meghan Armstrong, she was a four-time All-America at Iowa, where she got a degree in physiology. She joined Team USA Minnesota in 2008 and married her high school boyfriend, Cole Peyton, in 2010.

The Peytons live in Richfield, and Cole runs a mixed martial arts equipment company. Meghan is pursuing her master’s degree in leadership at Augsburg, where she is an assistant track and cross country coach under Barker.

Peyton, who is 5-4 and weighs 110 pounds, is making the move from distance races to the marathon at a typical age for elite women. She was on a long block of training that included as many as 132 miles a week when her major breakthrough came on Labor Day. On a muggy morning in New Haven, Conn., she won the U.S. national 20-kilometer championship by a wide margin.

“Since I began my professional career, I set certain goals, and winning a national championship was definitely one of them,” she said. “I just didn’t expect it that day. I was in the middle of marathon training, I still ran 95 miles that week, I hadn’t really tapered for the race. So yeah, definitely it was a surprise.

“There were a lot of factors working against me — the weather, my mileage, strong competition. When I found myself in the lead at 6 miles, I kept telling myself, ‘You can win it, keep pushing.’ And the last 2 miles, I was motivated by pure — what’s the word? — well, I was running scared. I didn’t want to lose.”

Aiming for victory

The top American woman in Sunday’s marathon earns $25,000. Peyton’s personal best in the half-marathon is 1:13:43, and she would like to scare 2:30 on Sunday.

“Two-thirty is realistic, but being a national championship, we’re just going for the win, and not looking so much at time,” Barker said. “We’re trying to compete and win this thing, and if she does that, the time will take care of itself.”

Said Peyton: “From what happened at the Olympic trials, I definitely learned enough to be able to handle whatever comes my way. I’m going to be more patient. Everyone says the race doesn’t really begin until the last 10K. Those last 6 miles are where I’m really going to get into focus. … You just have to stay with the lead pack and see how it turns out.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Marshall 52 FINAL
Northern Ill 23
Navy 17 FINAL
San Diego St 16
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Twins' offseason moves so far?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close