Alumni in the News

Jim O. Peacock - B.S., Marketing Edu., ‘89; M.S., Psyc., ‘95; E.D., Edu., ‘08 - Paradise, UT

Herald Journal

Reaching a milestone

Peacock finishes 100th marathon, raises money for Logan wrestling

By Jason Turner

Wrestling has been a big part of Jim Peacock’s life for more than 35 years. Distance running, on the other hand, is something the longtime Cache Valley resident and educator picked up about 15 years ago. In fact, Peacock used to despise running.

It’s safe to say Peacock doesn’t feel that way anymore. Case in point: The 47-year-old competed in his 100th marathon Saturday. Peacock’s milestone 26.2-mile race took place at the fourth annual Utah Valley Marathon.

“About the time I started getting too old to wrestle, was about the time I started running,” Peacock said.

Nevertheless, wrestling still means a lot to Peacock, and the former Logan High head coach showed his appreciation for the sport by raising money for the program he used to preside over.  Peacock used his 100th marathon as a platform to raise funds for the Logan High program.  Bruce Swanson, a friend of Peacock’s, completed his 100th marathon in 2008 and, in conjunction with his big race, decided to raise money for Global Partners for Development, which is a non-profit organization that aides impoverished children in Africa. And it was a successful venture as nearly $7,000 was raised for Global Partners. 

“When I was coming up on my 100th marathon, my friend said, ‘What are you going to do? I mean, you’ve got to do something with it,’” Peacock said.

Peacock’s wife, Launi Evans, also influenced him to organize a fundraiser in conjunction with his big race, and things took off from there.

“I’ve done some service activities with students and I kind of teach that that’s a real necessary part of life, so I decided, yeah, OK, I’ll do what I believe,” said Peacock, who graduated from Utah State University in 2008 with a doctorate degree in education. “So just thinking about
what’s important, I really just thought of Ron McBride and how much I appreciated him for giving me the chance to coach at Logan High, the administrators that supported me while I did coach.

“... And as Andrew (Semadeni) and I turned (the program) over to Bo Roundy, I’ve just really been happy with the enthusiasm and work that he’s put into it, and I thought that’s where I want to give back, is to the program that has meant a lot of my life.” Peacock went about procuring funds for the LHS wrestling program by writing letters to or emailing friends of his in the education and running communities. “And quite a few people have responded, so I’m kind of surprised and pleased that people think that’s a cool and worthwhile thing,” he said. The former Preston High, BYU and USU wrestler used the angle of helping kids “who maybe can’t afford” the traveling expenses and hotel costs involved with becoming an elite grappler.

Peacock gave discretion to Roundy, Logan’s head coach, on how to best use the funds.  “I think he’s noticed that we’ve been a successful program and just wants to help,” Roundy said. “But it’s an honor and pretty awesome he’s thinking of us.” The Arizona native’s goal was to raise $2,000 and as of a few days ago, Peacock had secured about $1,000. Locker 42 owner Jason Pond, a former LHS wrestler, aided the cause by designing and donating T-shirts — “Team Peacock 100” shirts — for all those who participated in the fundraiser.

To show his appreciation for those who donated and in an effort to continue to raise money, Peacock held a barbeque/open house Saturday at the Paradise Park Pavilion from 5-7 p.m. “It’s not my favorite things to do and I’m not very good at it, even though I have a degree in business management,” Peacock said of his fundraising efforts. “But I do think it’s important to show your support for things you care about, and so I’m trying to be a good example to my kids.”

As for finishing his 100th marathon — which he completed in 3 hours, 41 minutes, 18 seconds, despite battling a headwind for 20 miles — Peacock said he really didn’t consider it to be a big deal. “You know what, I never set out to run 100 marathons,” he said. “I’m going to run this one just like I run every other marathon: If I start it, I want to complete it. (Running 100 marathons) really isn’t that big of a deal, but a marathon is a big deal, and you never know what’s going to happen when you run 26 miles. I mean, there’s just so much that goes into it, including how you feel that day, the weather, the course.”

The Avon resident ran his first marathon in 1997 in St. George. Late in the race, Peacock caught up with Dan Johnson, who was Mount Logan Middle School’s principal at the time, and the duo crossed the finish line together. Peacock, an assistant principal at Mount Logan from 2009-12, only ran one marathon apiece in 1997 and 1998, but his passion for distance running “took off from there.” For several years now, Peacock has finished at least 10 marathons a year.

The current Logan High assistant principal — Peacock was hired for this position in March — especially enjoys participating in the Top of Utah and Ogden marathons. Peacock, whose family moved from the Phoenix area to Preston when he was a freshman in high school, has competed in all 12 Ogden Marathons and has only missed the TOU Marathon twice. Peacock, who qualified for and competed in the 2002 Boston Marathon, has also done a handful of ultra-marathons, including a pair of 50-milers. Peacock plans on racing in the 50th annual JFK 50-Mile Run, which will be held Nov. 17 in Boonsboro, Md.

Two years ago, Peacock and his wife traveled to Germany to participate in a 100-kilometer relay. “I like to travel and (doing marathons) are a good way to see the country,” Peacock said. “... It’s just a fun way to see the world and spend time with people you care about.” Peacock’s personal record for a marathon is 3:14, and he is still going strong, as was evidenced by his time of 3:26 at last year’s St. George Marathon.
When asked how he got involved in distance running, Peacock made it a point to credit two people in particular — Joel Allred, who used to work with Peacock at Cache High School, and Gary Straquadine. Peacock trained for and completed about half of his 100 marathons with
Straquadine, a former department head at USU.

Allred was the principal at Cache High while Peacock was doing his internship in school counseling. Peacock recalls seeing a Boston Marathon poster on one of the walls in Allred’s office, and that helped spark his interest, along with Allred’s prodding. Fast forward 15 years later, and running serves several purposes for Peacock. “I run because I love to eat, but even more so, I run for mental health,” Peacock said. “I run early in the morning, I run usually at 5 in the morning when it’s quiet and nobody’s out, and I typically try to process what’s going on at school (at that time) and try and think how I can be of assistance to the teachers.”

Well before he ever started running on a regular basis, Peacock was a wrestler through and through. Peacock competed for renowned coach Laron Hansen at Preston, and was a state champion at 158 pounds as a senior and a state runner-up as junior. The Indians captured the 3A title when Peacock was a sophomore and placed third at state his junior and senior seasons. Hansen, a two-time All-American at BYU, went on to win four state titles in seven seasons at Idaho’s Snake River High School, and was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Idaho Chapter, in 2011.

When Hansen retired as Snake River’s head coach in 2005, Peacock was asked to speak at the retirement ceremony. Peacock also attended Hansen’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony. “I wanted to make a difference in kids’ lives like Laron Hansen made in mine,” Peacock said. Peacock went on to wrestle his freshman season at BYU, where he placed fourth at the Western Athletic Conference Championships at 158 pounds. After serving an LDS Church mission, Peacock transferred to USU, where he was awarded two letters in three seasons with the
Aggies. Peacock was named Logan High’s third-ever head wrestling coach in 1989, and guided the program until 2001. Semadeni and Peacock then directed the program together for a few years before Roundy took over. Before becoming a school counselor and eventually an assistant principal — he was also South Campus’ principal in the early 2000s — Peacock taught math, business and technology at Logan High.

The former Logan assistant football coach was also an assistant coach for Roundy in the midto-latter 2000s, where he helped his son, Taylor, win a state title in 2009. During his time as a Grizzly head or assistant wrestling coach, Peacock mentored seven state champions and six state runner-ups. “I lacked the ability to get enough kids to wrestle, which is what Bo Roundy has been able to do,” said Peacock, who made it a point to thank several coaches for helping shape his coaching career, especially McBride, Mike Favero, Stuart Howell, Perry Christensen and Larry Comadena. “... And so the four years I was an assistant for Bo, that was really a happy time in
my life to work with those kids.”

Jim Peacock starts out on a five?mile run with his dog, Frannie, in Logan Thursday. Peacock ran his 100th marathon Saturday at the Utah Valley Marathon, which he finished in 3:41.18. Peacock also used the race as a platform to raise money for the Logan wrestling program.