Dr. Fred Miller, assistant professor of exercise science at Anderson University, lives the motto “practice what you preach” through an avid dedication to running. Through his passion for marathons, he can relate his motivation and physical health back to his teaching.
“Being in my field, I want to live up to what I teach,” said Miller. Connie Hippensteel, the wellness program director at Kardatzke Wellness Center, interacts with Miller on a regular basis. “He not only knows what happens physiologically during running, but he experiences it,” said Hippensteel.
Throughout high school and college, Miller ran for cross country and track teams. It was during his studies at Eastern New Mexico University that he pursued his first marathon. “The Turtle Marathon was my very first one, and I actually won it,” said Miller.
Since then, he has run multiple races, some of which include the New York City Marathon, the Boston Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, and the Walt Disney Marathon. “I have run marathons in nine states,” said Miller. “I usually do three to four marathons per year.”
[Photo: Miller nears the finish line of the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2009.]
While competing in marathons is a personal goal for Miller, he chooses certain races that reach out to impoverished communities or specific causes. “Many races donate to charities,” said Miller. “One race I did was to help those in need and to feed the hungry.”
The healthy lifestyle that Miller demonstrates is motivated by his personal faith. He lives by two Bible verses: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength,” (Philippians 4:13) and “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God,” (1 Corinthians 10:31). “I give God the glory for my running accomplishments, for he gave me the strength and ability to run,” said Miller.
Miller is committed daily to his health and fitness, providing advice and encouragement to students not only from research but from personal experience. “When not training, I run about 30 to 40 miles a week,” said Miller.
Katelynn Lockhart, a senior exercise science major and one of Miller’s students, looks up to his teaching and knowledge of kinesiology. “His passion for running and living a healthy life shows through with each lesson and helpful tip he shares with us,” said Lockhart. “He is a great person to go to for advice on exercise plans and living a healthy life because he has the knowledge to teach it and the experience to share.”
Hippensteel can see the benefits students gain from professors such as Miller, who are willing to share from their own experience. “He can share his expertise about realistic, safe, and effective ways to train for various types of running races, such as 5k, 10k, mini marathons, and marathons,” said Hippensteel. “I know that he often tells his students about how he is training and what he is eating when he prepares for a race.”
Miller’s progress through running has set an example for students in the exercise science program, as well as his fellow colleagues. “There are so many people who know the facts of being active and healthy on paper, but Dr. Miller is true to his teachings and lives it out daily,” said Lockhart. “Not only does his everyday life show how he practices what he teaches, but his success with the many marathons he has run shows for that as well.”
In the future, Miller would like to compete in two major world marathons that would add to three that he has already accomplished. “I want to run the London and Berlin marathons to complete the five major world marathons,” said Miller.
— Amanda Sills is a junior from Seattle, Wash., majoring in communication arts. Sills is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.