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Oceanside’s Mayor Peter Weiss Breezes Hurdles to Run Trot

November 23, 2019

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Oceanside Mayor Peter Weiss rarely misses a race through his town on Thanksgiving morning in the annual Frontwave Credit Union O’side Turkey Trot.

Weiss may be one of the biggest supporters — and participants — and he has seen the annual Frontwave Oceanside Turkey Trot grow from a few to the many.

The race takes place on Thanksgiving morning. Go to the official Frontwave O’side Turkey Trot website for details.

The anticipated road race brings people into the City who might otherwise not get a chance to check out Oceanside, a North San Diego town by the Ocean with a landmark setting.

“I guess what I would say as Mayor is it’s not just the Turkey Trot, it’s the Ironman, it’s the Soccer fields, it all brings people who ordinarily wouldn’t come to Oceanside,” Weiss said. “There will be 7,000 to 10,000 people coming for the Turkey Trot, and there are a lot of locals, but a lot of people come into the City to spend the weekend. It’s a significant driver for the City of Oceanside.”

Running in events over the years has kept Mayor Weiss up to speed in his daily tasks and in life. His family supports his career which started when he joined the City as an engineer and moved up the ranks.

But he’s running races in many aspects and in his career and loving every minute.

Weiss started with the city in 1986 as a city engineer, moved into the position of public works director and then city manager.

When the former Mayor resigned, he was appointed and he will fill the term until November of 2020.

“I am not running for mayor,” after his term as Mayor is up, Weiss said. But there may be a consideration to serve on City Council.

In the meantime, Weiss looks forward to Thanksgiving.

“I tried doing the math on how many Turkey Trots I’ve been in but I can’t remember,” he said. “The last two I did not participate, I think I missed four, in all.

Overcoming the Challenges 

There has been a stumbling block or two with Mayor Weiss’s health, but he attributes his strong pace and recovery to athletics. He had a heart operation, and he’s slowed a little bit but he is still putting in good times on his races.

“I used to be a lot faster but age has crept up on me,” he said.

But Weiss keeps going. His training consists of 50 miles a week on the bike 50 miles running and “some swimming,” he said.

“I’m running three miles that what is now a pace it would have been my recovery pace,” he said.

What people wouldn’t realize is Mayor Weiss had major heart surgery and has been recovering nicely. He was afflicted with genetic-based aortic aneurisym.

“Back in the day my best time would have been 21:40. If I can do 33:00 this year I’ll be happy,” he said. “I had open heart surgery four years ago.”

Personal Best from Mayor Peter Weiss

“I couldn’t do anything like lifting heavy weights, no blunt trauma to the chest,” he aid. “Your blood pressure goes up significantly if you work out with weights, so I don’t do that any more.”

These days he’s good about having his health checked regularly.

“I go in every year and they check me out and everything seems to be fine,” he said. “I can’t go as long and I can’t go as fast.”

It’s the same thing from which Elvis Presley and John Ritter suffered, and it’s genetic.

“When I got diagnosed at that time I did not now it was genetic link,” he said. “My sister had something similar and I spoke to her surgeon. I ended up, I found in a roundabout way through the John Ritter Foundation. Most people don’t ever know they have it. Mine was found by accident.”

Does he have a special diet?

“It’s a ‘see-food’ diet, when I see it I eat it,” Weiss said. “I like brussel sprouts but really I like the ones with bacon and cheese on them. I might as well be eating Milk Duds. I have a training routine I’ve been doing for some time,” he said.

Friendship and Friendly Competition

“In my 20s, I did about 12 events a year,” Weiss said. “There are a few of us who have been doing this for an extended period of time.”

It’s with his friends and colleagues that Weiss has running trips and adventures. He gets to do a few get-togethers with friends from time to time. But it’s the memories taht are also good to have.

Weiss remembers the Escape from Alcatraz race he did.

“They take you over in a boat you jump off the dock and swim to San Francisco,” he said. “When Alcatraz was a real prison, they brought mobsters from Chicago who couldn’t swim. When really, the currents aren’t that bad.”

A few years ago Weiss did a half Ironman in Santa Rosa in the mid-90s, and has been doing Triathlons ever since.

“In the year 2000, Oceanside hosted first Ironman,” Weiss recalled. “Our goal is next year on the 20th anniversary to do the half Iron Man, the three of us again, my colleagues Paul Pace and Matt Stevens. Stevens was the captain of lifeguards and Pace was a traffic engineer with the City.

Weiss said he’s not necessarily in it for the glory of a first-place finish.

“At this point, I try to be competitive,” he said. “I was always a ‘middle of the packer, I never won,” he said.

And it may be that consistency that has helped him cope with the many high-decision positions he’s held with the City.

Growing and Developing 

As the Frontwave O’side Turkey Trot has grown, so has the City, Weiss said.

“The City has grown, the downtown is revitalized,” he said. “The downtown is significantly different than it was. Some of the people they would say there’s been tremendous change in downtown,” he said.

As for the how the Oceanside Turkey Trot has developed and drawn participants over the years?

“The Turkey Trot has really grown,” Weiss said. “There are multiple races the 5K, the locals, the kids races. We’ve done well with each other through the growing pains. It’s not always easy to shut down the roads on Thanksgiving morning. The majority of people know it’s coming and the people who may have had concerns in the past are participating now. It’s very rewarding.”