By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
Bryan Miller never thought much of his weight or running until he moved to Tupelo five months before his wife in 2008.
“I moved here in March, my wife moved in July, so I was here by myself, eating out two, three times a day,” Miller said. “Before I knew it, I had gained 30 pounds.”
With the encouragement of friends and family, Miller now runs about 40 miles each week and has completed nine marathons and loves it.
It started when he was working on a mortgage for local runner Jim Brown.
“When Jim Brown came to see me, he had just won his first marathon,” Miller said. “I was fascinated by the idea of the marathon, that someone could run that far. He asked me to do a 5K and I didn’t actually think it would happen so I told him I would.”
Miller didn’t think much more about the 5K but Brown didn’t forget. He called Miller as a reminder a week before the race.
“I thought, ‘I better start running’,” Miller said. “I ran a mile and had a hard time. By that Thursday, I ran two miles and was so beat up I could hardly walk.”
Miller, who was 32 at the time, placed third place in his age group in that first 5K.
He now works for BancorpSouth and runs almost every day.
In 2010, Miller and running coach Nathan Hall started a Marathon Makeover course in Tupelo to help people learn to run.
“We signed up 75 participants who had never run a day in their life,” Miller said. “Of that, we took I think 35 that did the half marathon or full in October of 2010. To see people get a 26.2 tattoo or see they’re doing another run on Facebook posts makes you feel good to know you’ve been a part of it.”
Miller no longer hosts the Marathon Makeover course, but he said 75 participants finished a marathon and many of the runners still get together to run on the weekends.
“It’s so much easier if you have a partner,” Miller said. “If you have an accountability partner in anything, your chances of success increase. You have to be a very driven person to get up every morning and go pound the pavement.”
Miller has spread his love of running to his oldest daughter Bryanna, 13, and wife Chanda.
He ran the Shake Rag Half Marathon in Tupelo last year with his daughter and the New Orleans Marathon in early March with his wife.
“There is nothing like running with your kids,” he said. “What a great bonding experience, to be running together – exercising and bonding. Whoever thought running could be so much fun.”
He has a 10-year-old daughter named Catie who has gotten him interested in horses.
“We have a horse named Cowboy and he’s going to be a world champion barrel racer,” Miller bragged.
His son Zac is 2.
“I love golf, but you play on a Saturday and it takes four or five hours and then you have to wait on the people in front of you and lie to your wife about what hole you’re on,” Miller said. “That’s no good. With running, I can do it and get back before they get out of bed.”
Miller’s next big race is the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati in May which he hopes to complete in 31⁄2 hours. His current record is 3 hours, 49 minutes.
“Running is a gift, you can’t treat it any different,” Miller said. “How many people would love the ability to get up and run every day?”