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Defending New Haven Road Race Champio Meghan Peyton has Fresh Perspective
by Jim Fuller, New Haven Register
When Meghan Peyton, (a 2011 RRCA Roads Scholar) navigates her way through the streets of New Haven on Labor Day morning, other than the fact that the Faxon Law New Haven Road Race will include a field full of world-class caliber runners eager to end her reign as the U.S. 20-kilometer road racing national champion, she will be overcome with a sense of peaceful tranquility.
The 28-year-old from Minneapolis will look to defend her national title with the realization that she did everything she could. The weeks of logging more than 120 miles as well as on-track workouts give her a feeling that she has some amount of control in determining the final outcome.
However, that will not be the feeling when she returns home to resume her duties as the men’s and women’s cross country coach at Division III Augsburg College. There will be nothing calm about her demeanor.
“I become a mess. It is a whole different kind of nervousness,” Peyton said. “I almost get more nervous watching them because you have so much influence on how they are performing. If they have a really bad race, do I blame myself or was it something they did wrong? Usually I will blame myself. It is definitely nerve wracking to watch them race.”
Whether her student-athletes realize it or not, they play a significant role into her ascension as one of the nation’s top female distance runners. Her desire to see the Auggies succeed has managed to give her a pretty good sense of perspective.
“Helping them achieve their goals really helps keep me grounded,” Peyton said. “Sometimes when you get to the professional level (winning) almost becomes too much of an obsession and being more well rounded has helped me stay healthy over many years of training. That is very important because running is a sport that is very cumulative, so year after year of the training pays off and that was evidenced last year. It was my fifth year into professional running, and each year I kind of chipped away, placing in the top 10, placing in the top 20 so coaching keeps me grounded and helps me have some perspective on more than just running.”