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'Rock' Of Nashville Running Community Dies Suddenly

Posted at 6:33 PM, Mar 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-26 21:08:08-04

Up until the final moments of his life Peter Pressman was a runner, whether it was organizing races or running in them, he spent decades as a mentor in Nashville's running community.

Peter, 71, died of a sudden heart attack on Sunday morning.

Peter Pressman first joined the Nashville Striders running club in the 1980's. He was President of the non-profit running organization for 10 years and helped inspire countless runners to follow their passion.

"He enjoyed every minute of every day of his life. He's been the rock of this running community for a long, long time," close friend Diana Bibeau says.

On Sunday the Nashville Striders were preparing for their final 20-mile training run leading up the Nashville Rock N' Roll Marathon at the end of April. Peter was helping to setup a water station when his heart suddenly stopped. He was rushed to TriStar Summit Medical Center but there was nothing doctors there could do.

Still though, his running companions pushed on with their training run.

"They stood in a circle and prayed and they said ' this is what Peter would want us to do' and they all knew they had to run for him. It was hard bu everyone said they ran with his memories and he carried them through their run,' Bibeau said holding back tears.

Pressman was largely seen as an icon in Nashville running circles. If he wasn't organizing a road race he was likely running in it.

By phone on Monday his wife Ruth said he died doing what he loved. 

As a runner, Pressman's motto was always "end every race upright and with a smile," those who knew Peter say that is the way he finished his life as well.

"He loved running and never wanted to see the end of it," she said.