The most honored male athlete in the history of Keene State athletics, Mark Miller is justifiably being inducted into the hall of fame in his first year of eligibility.
The second men's national champion at Keene State and the College’s only multiple male national champion; Miller completed his running career (1999-2003) as four-time national champion and 10-time All-American. A two-time cross country All-American for the Owls (2000 and 2001), the Shelburne Falls, Mass., native also made a major name for himself on the track. Miller, KSC's male Athlete of the Year in 2003, captured both the indoor and outdoor 1,500-meter national titles in 2001, the outdoor 1,500 in 2002, and the indoor 1,500 championship in 2003.
Miller wasn’t lacking for confidence when he arrived at Keene State. “I really had a firm belief that I would be an NCAA mile champ, but I didn’t think it would happen so early in my career,” he said.
“Mark wasn’t afraid of the upperclassmen and relished the chance to run with those who were better than he was,” said Coach Peter Thomas.
When asked which of his national championships gives his the most satisfaction, Miller said it was the outdoor 1,500-meter title his junior year. Coming off an injury plagued indoor season and tripping at the national meet, Miller came into the spring national meet as the ninth seed. Sending a message by winning his heat with his fastest time of the season, Miller used a strong kick down the stretch to win the championship. “I started kicking so fast that it was like all of the frustration and fear was shooting out of my feet onto the track,” Miller said.
Although the recognition has been nice, Miller is the first to admit that the accolades have never been the driving force behind his success. “I can honestly say as an athlete I have never really thought about the honors and awards,” he said. “All I cared about and still care about to this day is competing and pushing myself to the limit.”
Miller gives Coach Thomas high marks for his direction and inspiration. “It’s a true testament to Pete’s coaching that he took a rather immature runner who could just run and not block all the little things out, and transformed him into a mature racer who could think big,” Miller said. “Pete lays it out for you. He will talk to you about what you think you’re capable of and what he thinks you’re capable of and he sets a plan.”
Miller’s current plans also include running. He still trains every day and competes on a regular basis. Last winter, Miller was ranked among the top-25 runners (3,000-meter) in the country and was tied for the 13th fastest time in the 5K outdoors. This season, he is looking to qualify for the USATF Indoor Championship and take a shot at winning 10K at the Penn Relays this spring.
In addition to recalling his many accomplishments, Miller also remembers his many teammates. “My teammates were then and still are the best friends a guy could ever have,” he said. Weather it was running in heat advisories during the summer, or running through ankle deep water or partially frozen ponds, we were always there for each other.”
Miller also met his wife and fellow inductee Mary Proulx at Keene State. “We are so fortunate that we were able to become best friends and share all of those incredible adventures together,” Miller said. “Not many people have had the experiences that we have had and we have running to thank for so many of them.”