The race ended today for a running advocate and Nashville icon. Peter Pressman, 72, died of a heart attack on Sunday.
Pressman was the president of the Nashville Striders, the largest running club in Tennessee, which boasts over 1,000 members.
"It is with great sadness that we must communicate, this morning prior to our long run our President Peter Pressman passed away of an apparent heart attack," Nashville Striders posted on Facebook. "Our deepest condolences to his family and the Striders community. This is a great loss to the Nashville Striders organization, as more information becomes available we will share it with our community."
Pressman ran over 50 marathons in his lifetime. More so, his love for running impacted and inspired hundreds across Nashville to do the same.
"We are shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Peter Pressman, said Josh Furlow, managing director of the Rock'n'Roll Marathon. "Peter was not only an integral member of our race but he was, most importantly, our family. We deeply mourn his loss with the entire running community and send prayers of support to his loving wife, Ruth."
Since news of his passing on Sunday morning, many Nashvillians have posted condolences and heartfelt stories about Pressman on Facebook.
"Peter [is] one of the best people you will ever encounter in your life," said News4 Sports Reporter Joe Dubin. "He was beloved by thousands of folks. He made running and doing marathons a cool thing. I've run 10 half-marathons because Peter told me I could."
In addition to his work with Nashville Striders, Pressman started a youth running program in Goodlettsville so kids could travel to Nashville and run the final mile of the Nashville marathon. He also organized a summer track series for kids at Vanderbilt University.
"Running has become such a huge part of my life and it's important to me to share my passion and give back to the running community, and hopefully help set an example for our youth," Pressman told Runner's World in 2008.
A funeral service will be held for Pressman at West End Synagogue on Wednesday, March 28 at 1:30 p.m.