Lou and Charley Peyton honored for decades of service to the Arkansas running community at
By David J. Samuel -November 18, 2017
the 30th Annual RRCA Arkanas State Meeting in Hot Springs, Arkansas
After running road races for ten years all over Arkansas, I decided it was time to join the Arkansas ultra-runners on a few trail runs during the winter of 1989-90. I had been reading the ultra-trail column written monthly by Charley Peyton in the Little Rock Roadrunners Club newsletters. After running the “10-9-10” (21-mile run on Ouachita Trail from Highway 10 to Highway 9 and back) and the “Great Bear Run” (25-mile run on logging roads from Williams Junction to Pinnacle Mountain) I was hooked. I was scared to death that I would get lost on the 10-9-10, so I dropped in behind Charley Peyton. We discovered the Ouachita Trail markings were almost nonexistent and part of the trail was even under water. Falling twice by stubbing my toe on rock outcrops and climbing over a barb-wire fence, I asked Charley if this was normal. He said “yes,” but added this is one of the easy trail runs.
Charley and Lou Peyton directed the first ten Arkansas Traveler 100-Milers
along with numerous Arkansas Ultra Running Association
(AURA) trail runs through the years. Besides being very active in the early years with the Little Rock Roadrunners Club, they were also responsible for the organization of the AURA. Both were recently inducted into the AURA Hall of Fame and into the Arkansas Roadrunners Hall of Fame.
In 1989, Lou Peyton was the 14th
of 22 finishers and the only female completing the that year's Arkie Ultra 50-Miler on the Bona Dea Trail in Russellville, AR. In 1992,she ran/walked the Ouachita Trail (Talimena, Oklahoma to Pinnacle Mountain). In 1993, she ran/walked the Ozark Highland Trails with Jim Schuler and Simon Hauser. Lou has completed twenty 100-milers in the required time limit, including seven finishes in the Arkansas Traveller 100 Miler. Lou has two other great accomplishments. One is the Grand Slam of Ultra Running, completing four 100-milers in the same year. Then last September on Labor Day, Lou completed her third “Race for the Ages” in Tennessee. The runners were challenged to complete as many miles as they could depending on their age. After completing 100 and 102 miles in the previous two events, at age 73, Lou Peyton finished with 105 miles in 73 hours.
Lou was the RRCA/Arkansas Female Masters Runner of the Year in 1989; the RRCA/Arkansas Female Ultra Runner of the Year in 1990, 1991, and 1993; and the RRCA/Arkansas Female Ultra Masters Runner of the Year in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 1999.
I would like to close out with a 1981 article from The Runaround newsletter written by Charles Peyton, Jr., after he was honored as the Little Rock Roadrunners Club April “Runner of the Month”:
Charley Peyton began running back in the summer of 1970 as a hefty 200 pounder (his words). At the urging of his wife, Lou, who was already a five mile a day runner, Charley would lace up his combat boots and head for the "track," which was actually running twenty circles in the drive-in circle of the Pulaski Federal Savings and Loan Branch office. Gradually he evolved into the typical mile-a-day jogger to stay in shape for softball season. Some life challenges helped him develop his daily habit of bus/running. He would bus a portion of his commute and then run the remaining 4 miles to and from work. This experience taught him to run in the heat, snow, sleet, and rain, and enjoy it. His commuting mileage helped him prepare for this first marathon, the Houston Marathon, in 1981. After four years of training by Charley and eight years training by Lou, they would both run the 1985 Boston Marathon.