“I had all these supporters that were from the Black running community that were there to cheer me on because I was their representation in the race. That’s really big and pretty heavy, I think. And not heavy in a bad way. But it weighs on my mind a lot, especially now.”
At just 24 years old — and with only two marathons under her belt so far — Peyton Thomas is already making a name for herself on the long-distance running scene. After running track and cross-country in high school and college, Peyton graduated from Baylor University and decided to run a marathon (with a 40-mile ultramarathon thrown in the mix). She made her 26.2-mile debut at the 2019 California International Marathon (CIM) and ran a 2:42.57, qualifying for the Olympic Trials on her first try. She went on to run the Trials in February in Atlanta, where she ran a three-second personal best time on a day that included big hills, wild wind, and a handful of calf cramp-induced walk breaks. (Imagine: 2:42.54 on a tough day!) Peyton was the only American-born Black female athlete who ran at the Trials, in a sea of more than 450 women. On this episode, she talks about what that was like, and talks about how her running journey has evolved from the days when she would black out while racing in high school and college. Peyton is a PhD candidate and teaching assistant at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, studying biology and marine biology.
Quick note! Around 40 minutes into the conversation, you may notice some beeping. We couldn’t help the fact that a truck parked outside Peyton’s home for a while — and we hope you aren’t too bothered by it! Thanks for understanding!
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What you’ll get on this episode:
- How Peyton got her start on the run (4:45)
- Peyton talks about blacking out while racing in high school and college (15:45)
- Why Peyton decided to train for a marathon and try to run an Olympic Trials qualifying time (20:20)
- Peyton reflects on running the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials (35:40)
- On diversity and inclusion at the Trials (47:30)
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