Local Senior State Olympian qualifies for National Games

Gary Miller
Gary Miller has always felt a need to compete.

Going back to his days when he used to race motorcycles, Miller loved the challenge of besting his competitors. However, as he’s grown older, Miller has moved on to another form of racing: running.

And at 70 years old, he’s very good at.

“I race in the 70-74 age division, so I race against everybody, but I’m only judged against my peers,” Miller said.

Among his peers in the area, Miller is ranked as the No. 1 runner in his age group by the Bob Rocker Runner’s Spotlite. The Spotlite is a ranking system compiled by Roncker based on the times of competitors in races across the area. While not everyone races in the same events, the times are put up against each other and Miller has been named the top runner in the men’s age group from 70-74.

“He looks at the results and everything being equal, if you race somebody heads up in your age division and beat them, you usually get the nod,” Miller explained. “There’s so many races, you may only race against a guy once or twice, but if you have consistently better times (you’re ranked ahead of them), and that’s what I’ve had this year.”

In fact, Miller has not lost a race yet this year. Miller guesses he runs around 15 road races a year, which does not count track events. Among some races he has won this year so far are the Heart Mini, a 15K and the Flying Pig, a 10K.

Aside from his road racing, Miller competed in the Ohio State Senior Olympics last month at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. The State Olympics are very similar in event-type to the actual Olympic Games, which just concluded in London earlier this month.

Naturally, Miller competed in the distance events.

“These were the championships for the state and in the 1500 meters, I got first place and in the 800 meters, I got a second place,” Miller said.

To qualify for the state tournament, Miller placed first in the 1500 and in the 800 at the districts. He also placed second in the 400 meters, but chose to not compete in that event at the State Games.

“Running at State and getting first and second qualifies me to get to Nationals,” Miller said. “They will be next year in July at the same place, Case Western Reserve.”

Miller was anxious to qualify this time around because the Nationals would be so close by. Occurring bi-yearly, the National Senior Olympics have not taken place in this region for quite some time, being held in Texas, California, Oregon and Utah most recently, not allowing Miller to attend.

However, with Cleveland holding the games next year, Miller will be able to compete.

Still a year away, Miller plans to keep up with his training sessions, which take place five to six days a week at the Clermont County YMCA where he runs, does Pilates in addition to strength work.