Cincy Chic: What inspired you to start running?
Leah Peelman: My eigth grade school gym teacher suggested that I try running cross country, so I started when I was a freshman in high school. My cousin was a senior on the cross country team at that time, and I always looked up to him. My dad was a runner too, and he really encouraged me to keep at it.
Cincy Chic: Do you feel that running comes naturally to you? What do tell yourself in those times that the running isn't coming so naturally?
Peelman: I think running does come somewhat naturally to me, but I've always worked really hard at it. When I'm struggling, I like to pretend that I'm racing because that is the greatest feeling for me. It keeps me motivated
Cincy Chic: How long have you lived in the Cincinnati area?
Leah Peelman: I was born and raised in Cincinnati. I went to Purcell Marian High School, and then went away to college. I went to Hanover College in southern Indiana.
Cincy Chic: What do you do besides run?
Peelman: I work a lot, and I have class two nights a week. Other than that I like to read, be outside, spend time with my family and my boyfriend. I'm pretty low key.
Cincy Chic: What's your favorite hang out spot in the city?
Peelman: Hyde Park Square, particularly Graeter's. I love ice cream.
Cincy Chic: What are some of your favorite running routes?
Peelman: I really like running from Meters and Miles over the Purple People Bridge through downtown and then up into Eden Park. It's a great way to see the city. I also like to run in Hyde Park.
Cincy Chic: How much time do you train a week?
Peelman: I run anywhere from 40-50 miles a week.
Cincy Chic: Do you run by yourself or with others?
Peelman: During the week I usually run by myself. On Sundays, I meet down at Meters and Miles and run with a group.
Cincy Chic: Some say you have potential to win the Pig this year. Have you ever won a race before?
Peelman: I think I will be competitive in the Pig, but this is my first marathon. I'm inexperienced and there are so many great runners in the Cincinnati area. I know people have big expectations for me after my win at the Heart Mini-Marathon, but I'm just going to do my best and have fun at the Pig. I'm flattered that people think I could win, though.
Cincy Chic: Who is your inspiration?
Peelman: My college track and cross country coach is a huge inspiration for me. I still call him every few weeks and talk running. My running really improved under his coaching, so I value his opinion.
Cincy Chic: What's your goal time?
Peelman: I'd like to run about three hours.
Cincy Chic: What the heck do you think about for 26.2 miles?
Peelman: I haven't actually done 26.2 yet, but in other races I really get into a zone with all of the adrenaline flowing, and just focus on the task at hand. During my training runs, other thoughts sneak in…like what I'm going to eat afterwards!
Cincy Chic: If you had one thing to say to all those local women out there – runners or not – with lofty dreams like yours, what would you say to them?
Peelman: Never underestimate your potential.