Member Spotlight: Luke & Peyton Walters

Luke, where are you both from? Are you originally from Missoula, or did you relocate here from somewhere else?

I grew up mostly in Bonner and Florence.   We moved to Utah when I was 21, after my wife and I had Peyton we decided we wanted to be near family and raise Peyton in Montana so we moved back about 6 years ago.  

How did you get into running? 

Luke: I wanted to get healthy, I was hiking up a hill to go sledding one day with Peyton and really struggled to get to the top.  I have 2 real good friends who run trails and they kept inviting me out, so one day I just did it.  I feel in love, it was middle of Feb and we did waterworks.  I thought I was going to die, but it was a blast.  Running has completely changed my life, I’ve lost 60 pounds and my diet is a lot healthier.  Seeing Peyton change her lifestyle as well is very rewarding as a father. 

Peyton: I saw my dad race a 5k and since then I was hooked.  I get excited for races and don’t sleep the night before.  It’s fun. 

How long have you been running for? 

Luke: About a year and a half (waited way to long in life to start.)

Peyton: Little over a year.

Do you ever run or race together? 

Luke: Yes, all the time.  We put in about 20 miles together a week (4-5 times a week pending how she feels).  We try to run every 5k or 10k we can together. 

Peyton: I have run 13 5k’s, 5 10k’s and a 7 mile and 8 mile races with my dad.  

Where is your favorite place to run in Missoula?

Luke: Anywhere with Peyton, but I enjoy upper Blue Mountain. I have fond memories there, spent a lot of time working up for Hootenanny Relay and Elk Ramble there. 

Peyton: Blue Mountain. I did my first trail run there. 

Do you have a favorite race? And, why?

Luke: Elk Ramble, was a beautiful run, ran with some real good friends.  I tore my groin up doing the Hootenanny Relay the prior Month so it was a challenge, I was happy I pushed through and completed it.

Peyton: Turkey Day 8k, one of my first longer races and I ran it with a good friend.  

What is your favorite pre-race meal? And, post-race celebration meal? 

Luke & Peyton: Spaghetti! (After race we love Wheat Montana Cinnamon Rolls!)

What is your favorite running memory?

Luke: Heart Throb 5k 2020, Peyton really trained hard to get faster for that race.  She wanted to finish under 9 minutes per mile for the first time.  She was really nervous and ran hard and completed her goal.

Peyton: First trail run up Blue Mountain, I did a big hill and it was real tough. 

What are you both doing to stay busy in times like these?

Luke: Running (doing virtual races), Yard Work (my favorite hobby) and watching Movies. 

Peyton: Running (doing virtual races), Legos, Roller Skating, arts and crafts (really into bead work.)

Anything else you’d like to share?

Running with Peyton has been a dream, I’m so thankful she wants to run with me.  Having a running buddy is a blessing, but when it is your own kid it is icing on the cake.  People often ask me how I get her to run, I never push her to do anything she doesn’t want to.  We talk a lot about the benefits of running and take it at her own pace, what is her body telling her, and take it slow. The feeling of finishing a race and meeting your goal is an experience that you can’t take away, that feeling is all you and all the hard work you put into it.  I think it is important to celebrate that, let her live in that moment.