Featured Runner of the Month – Kevin Miller
It is not uncommon for even the most competitive runners to slow down, fight injuries and gain weight as they age. Many, like 50 year old Kevin Miller, have to give up running completely. It is also not uncommon for former runners to get back into running later in life as a way improve their health. When Kevin returned to running at the age of 46 after a 13 year layoff, he weighed 218 pounds and was struggling with many different health issues, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and stroke like symptoms. What is uncommon about Kevin’s return to running is how well he has competed – on the track, on the road and on the cross country course – among some of the fastest runners in the country.
Kevin ran cross country and track for Topeka Seaman and Butler County Community College, and also won a state title in wrestling as a high school junior. One of his proudest moments was leading his team to a Kansas State Cross Country team championship his senior year over a strong Shawnee Mission South that was favored to win the title. His collegiate PR for the 5K was 15:21 at the Arkansas Relays and he ran a PR in the 10K at the Denver Governor’s Cup where he ran a 32:27. Kevin continued to run on and off through the age of 33, but fought chronic injuries and stopped running altogether in 1994.
Kevin’s return to competitive running in 2008 was at the KC Corporate Challenge Track Meet, where he ran a 5:44 mile. He later discovered a new approach to training in Daniel’s Running Formula book, and it allowed him to increase his training without being plagued by the injuries that had sidelined him earlier in life. He later switched to a more moderate program developed by Coach Tom Schwartz that focuses on building endurance and stamina with a lesser emphasis on hard intervals and fast repetitions, and feels this program leaves him feeling more refreshed. He also feels that his current approach makes his training more enjoyable and less stressful.
There is no arguing with the results, as Kevin has turned in some amazing results at several different distances on a variety of surfaces over the past couple of years. He turned in a 2:08.75 in the 800 meters at last summer’s Kansas Senior Games and ran a 1:15:33 at the 2011 Rock the Parkway Half Marathon. His 33:23 in the 10K at the World Masters Association Championships in Sacramento was one of his favorite performances of the year, together with a 16:01 5K he ran at one of his favorite area races last September, the Leawood Labor Day 5K. In February, Kevin won the overall age graded title at the USA Cross Country Championships in St. Louis, also winning the 50-54 age group, and just last weekend, he had his best performance as a Masters runner when he ran a 4:35.99 mile at the Iowa State Last Chance track meet. He is looking forward to the USA Track & Field National Masters Indoor Track Meet in Bloomington, Indiana in mid-March and the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon in April. If recent results are any indication, 2012 may be Kevin’s best year yet!