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95-year-old Peggy Smith to walk in Peachtree Road Race

At 95 years old, Peggy Smith will be the oldest participant in this year’s Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta on Saturday, July 4. It will be her third Peachtree Road Race. She has been active her entire life and is looking forward to walking the course with family and friends. ’Everybody is so nice and helpful,’ she says. ‘There are all different shapes and sizes – it’s just a nice time.’ Peggy and her husband the late Richter Smith had quite an impact on the Concord community when they lived there from 1945 until 1966. She was a member of the Lions Club and taught swimming at Lifsey Springs. ’She did a lot for us as children in the community, teaching tennis, Cub Scouts and physical education at the grammar school,’ said Concord mayor John Strickland. ‘She served as a role model and was looked up to as a mother to many of us. She, like my mother Pat Strickland, is very active into her 90s and an inspiration to us all.’ She and her late husband lived in the historic home in front of Magnolia Farms which was originally built by Charles Theodore Smith, her husband’s grandfather. The house originally had 1,200 acres and the building behind it (now Magnolia Farms) was where the children in the community went to school. Her husband’s grandmother, Mrs. C.T. Smith was the one who started the Concord Garden Club. Peggy had a great impact on all the children in the community, including her four sons, Chuck Smith and Turner Smith of Maryland, Phillip Smith of Griffin and the late Tommy Smith of Darien. She has eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. ’The people there were wonderful and it was just the best place to raise children,’ she said. ‘Our life was just beautiful in Pike County. I have many happy memories of all the people there.’ She raised her children in Concord and then moved to Griffin in 1966. She stayed in Griffin until 2006 when she moved to an assisted living home in Fulton County and found friends who encouraged her to walk in the Peachtree Road Race. ’I did the Peachtree Road Race in 2010 when I was 90 with a group at our Wellness Center called the Walkie Talkies,’ she said. ‘We would walk around the garden and have a measured distance to go. We had another person who would stand and cheer us on. She named us the Walkie Talkies because she said we did more talking than we did walking. I had a friend who wanted to walk in the Peachtree Road Race when she got to be 90 but she didn’t make it. So this year I’ve decided I want to walk it in her memory – Claudine Starett – and the others all agree.’ She started preparing for the Peachtree Road Race in January and has about a mile each month to her walks. She walks early in the morning before the heat of the day. ’I write it down whenever I do my walking,’ she said. ‘This morning I walked three miles. I try to walk and eat a little more and drink a lot of water. This will probably be my last time walking it.’ She was interviewed by 11 Alive in Atlanta and by the Atlanta Track Club and will be featured in an upcoming news segment. ’You just have to keep going and the Good Lord will take care of you,’ she said. ‘Just try to do what’s right if you can. It’s not always easy to do and it’s not always done exactly right but that’s okay as long as you keep trying.’

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