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Peggy Mancuso finishes the Cowtown Ultra Marathon Feb. 24 in Fort Worth. The TWU professor has completed four marathons in the past year. Photos courtesy of Peggy Mancuso.

Marathons fuel Mancuso's appetite for running

She has a quick wit, and though she’ll tell you her feet aren’t that fast, Peggy Mancuso has finished well in a number of marathons she’s run.

“I do well in my age group by outliving the competition,” she said with a laugh.

The 69-year-old associate dean of research and clinical scholarship for TWU’s College of Nursing placed second in her age group in The Cowtown Ultra Marathon, held Feb. 24 in Fort Worth. She was the oldest participant overall in the 31.2-mile race.

Mancuso began running years ago because she traveled a lot, and “the only equipment you needed was a pair of tennis shoes.” A former student, pediatric nurse practitioner Lori Thompson (DNP, ’11), called Mancuso one day and asked if she’d like to run a 5K with her.

“Lori left me in the dust,” Mancuso said with a laugh. Still, the two began running together regularly.

Mancuso has completed four 26.2-mile marathons in the past year and reports that her best finish was 5 hours and 29 minutes in Grandma’s Marathon, held last June in Duluth, Minnesota.

“That is a little slow,” she said. “I am not fast. Just persistent.”

Mancuso and Thompson are planning to run the 50-mile Hatchie 50 Marathon May 4 in Waxahachie. Mancuso also recently learned she’s been approved to run in the New York City Marathon, the world’s largest, in November.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said of the New York race.

Mancuso says the camaraderie amongst the runners draws her to the sport.

“If you’re ever in a race, you realize how very kind people are,” she said. “Being in a marathon revitalizes your faith in the human race. Strangers give you drinks. Strangers cheer you on. I can’t think of any other sport where people look out for each other like runners do.

“I am not an elite athlete, but this is a sport where you get to run with people who are the best in the nation,” she added. “They may be 23 miles in front of me, but I’m running with the best!”

Mancuso won’t change her training regime too much for the upcoming races.

“I’m the only person I know who eats five to seven vegetables a day and two to three fruits in addition to that,” she said. She’ll “stack” her diet 48 hours before a race, loading up on carbohydrates. She’ll add weights to her regular routine of planks and stretching, and plans to start cross-training with a stationary bike and swimming.

“You take yourself to the edge (when training),” she said, “but you don’t want to injure yourself.”

Mancuso said a runner gets to know a city in a special way when running through it, and she’s run in marathons across the United States. Still, the Mansfield resident has a favorite.

“There’s nothing like running through Cowtown,” she said.

Story by Karen Garcia
Communications Specialist
TWU Office of Marketing and Communication