Peggy Smith, from Copperas Cove, kicked off 2023 by accomplishing a huge goal – to cover 100 miles in a single race. On January 1, 2023, she finished the Snowdrop ULTRA Race and Relay which started 55 hours earlier!
“I asked fellow Beef Team member, Robert Spikes, to do this race with me,” says Peggy. “I knew we could help push each other to get to our 100 miles done in the allotted time. On every lap, we would see friends on the Beef relay team cheering, encouraging, and offering to jog, crawl or walk with us. That was so helpful. We chased our dream and both earned our belt buckle!”
This wasn’t Peggy’s first year to participate in the ultra-distance event that supports childhood cancer awareness and research. In fact, it was her fifth time to endure the 0.69 mile loop course located in Buffalo Run Park in Missouri City, Texas. On her first try she made it about 40 miles during the 55-hour time cap, but realized she could (and would) go further. After reaching 100 miles this year, she’s motivated to hit 150 miles in a future Snowdrop race. “The race was set at 55 hours to symbolize the record-setting surgery of a young cancer patient at Texas Children’s Cancer Center in Houston,” explains Peggy. “Two surgeons operated for 27 continuous hours, which adds to 54 hours plus another hour for Chelsey, the patient.”
Peggy started doing races in 2011 and has been on the Texas Beef Team for five years. “When I got started, I weighed 350 pounds and my 7-pound poodle could walk farther than me,” says Peggy. “I started walking 5k every day, and have now logged so many miles and races I can’t keep up with counting them all. I also have another running goal, and that is to complete a race in all 50 states — I’m halfway there.”
“It actually motivates me when people say stuff like, ‘You can’t do that.’ or ‘Why are you doing that?’ I have to show them that “YES,” I can do this and really nearly anyone can do it if they want to.”
Peggy is a tender-hearted animal lover and advocate who helps rescue animals, enjoys visiting zoos and animal venues, and (naturally) has had many pets of her own. She even has a wild bucket-list dream to swim with a great white shark. Currently, she has two cats, named Bill and Ted, who she runs with on trails. She actually trained them to run alongside her in a race, but due to dogs at the venues, she’s been unable to do that regularly– but has had many other “excellent adventures” with her furry friends.
You might not know that Peggy grew up in Germany. At one point, she only spoke German and her parents decided to send her to a military school to learn English. She has many fond memories revolving around beef meals she enjoyed overseas and recalls a favorite ground beef and sauerkraut recipe that she learned from her mom (read on for the recipe). She also has happy, heartwarming memories of sitting down together with family on Christmas Eve around fondu pots, with cubes of steak ready to skewer and cook. “I always liked this tradition,’ Peggy elaborates. “Since we are cooking our meals at the table, there is more time to talk and laugh together rather than just eating a served meal and getting up.”
Favorite Races: I like the little runs in small towns. At the smaller town races, everyone asks about the Beef Team, wanting to know who we are. It helps spread the work of the Beef Team and I enjoy the smiles when they see us out there supporting them. That’s what I love the most.
Favorite Non-Race Beef Team Memory: I held a CPR and First Aid class at my home for team members to attend. I felt there was a need after helping out with many medical issues out on various courses ranging from blisters and cramps to a woman having a seizure. People asked me how I knew what to do, and I said “CPR Class.” We decided it would be a great idea for us all to get trained “just in case” and I found someone to host the class.
Favorite Beef Cuts: I like Beef Bacon (that’s a thing!) and Brisket. I have beef on my table nearly every day and usually have half a cow in the freezer.
Favorite Beef Recipe: My favorite is a passed down beef recipe from my mom. It’s really just a jumble of stuff tossed together, but so good. One pound of ground beef, a jar of sauerkraut, a cup of rice, can of tomato sauce, a few slices of salami, and some seasoning (I use the seasoning packet we get in our Beef Team event goodie bags.). Preparation is easy, just brown the ground beef, dump everything but the salami in a casserole dish, mix it up, cover with foil, and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add a few slices of salami on top and let brown.
Inspired By: I’m inspired by everyone I see out there on the back end, pushing as much as they can. I used to be that person. So when I want to give up and I see that person pushing, it makes me thankful for the path I am on and keeps me pushing my way to the end. If they can push through it, so can I. A mile is a mile no matter if it’s finished in 6 minutes or 20 minutes.
Training Buddies: I mostly run alone; however, I started running with Janey Spikes (11-yr old Beef Team Kids member) at races. I enjoy running with her and helping her along the way, because as a kid, I didn’t want to run. Sometimes, I can be tough in my effort to push her onward, but she never gets upset or gives up. I’m always so proud of her when she sets a PR — and even when she doesn’t! We talk about the course, what we could have done better, and make plans to try again!
Obstacles: I’m a stubborn German, so I persevere through injuries and adjust to obstacles. I lost my dad in March 2023 and have been taking care of my mom who is nearly 80. I work 50 hours a week as an office manager and to accomplish my running, I now get up at 4:30 am versus 5:30 am. Bedtime is now 8:30, I just adjusted my life because I feel better when I get my morning run or bike in.
Rewards for Goal: I love to go on cruises or race vacations.
Active Hobbies: I love my Peloton bike and I have always enjoyed swimming, even as a kid.
Race Mantra or Quote: “Believe in yourself, ‘I can’t isn’t in the books.” I even got a runner girl tattoo on the inside of my ankle that says “Believe”. When I am struggling in a race, I look down at my ankle for a reminder.
Dream Running Partner: I’d pick Marcel Dinkins, a Peloton instructor. Like me, she comes from a military background and initially did not like running. And, she always wears me out when I take her classes.
Pre-run Food: I’m basic, I love my water. Nothing in it, just plain old water. I don’t eat before a run and I don’t really carb load before a big run either. It’s afterwards that I have to have something, McDonald’s fries are the best after a long race!
Running Advice: When running your breathing comes into play, I always say, “Smell the flowers and blow out the birthday candles.” Meaning, breath in your nose and out your mouth.
Favorite Gear: Altra Running Shoes, CVG pants and my Beef Team top.
Running Music: I stopped listening to music, since many races frown upon it. And, if you know me, I will talk to anyone and help them along the race – I don’t need music.
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