Alex Miller passed away in 2011. One of his friends, Randy, came up with the idea to have a race in his honor. The Miller family decided to pursue it, focusing on the 5K format. Lorry miller, Alex’s mother, shared how she and her other children figured out what was needed, and their extended family supported this great idea as it evolved into the Alex Miller Memorial 5K.
Lorry shared: “We did the first one, and we were so excited about how that turned out. His friends came from Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Charleston and Pennsylvania. We knew they wouldn’t be able to afford to come every single year. It meant so much to us the first year so many people came from all over the United States. I can’t tell you what that means to us, the support we’ve gotten from friends and family. We’re just very happy with the turnout. We just hope that each year it will grow and people want to be a part of it.”
Alex’s sister updated the website this year, after his cousin worked on it in the previous years. The proceeds go to the Alex Miller Petroleum Engineering Scholarship at his alma mater, Marietta College.
Alex grew up in Marietta, and went into the petroleum engineering business, following in his father’s footsteps. He was well rounded; his other interests included playing the guitar and he had earned a black belt in the martial art Shaolin.
Lorry explained, “He actually had moved to Charleston right after he graduated, working for a company in Charleston West Virginia, and then he asked to come out to Oklahoma to interview for a job for Chesapeake. And I wasn’t very happy about that, the thought of him being that far away, oh I just I hated that.”
Once the Millers went to visit their son, Lorry said, “We understood what he loved about Oklahoma. It was beautiful… He was happy there, and so that made me happy, knowing that he liked where he was at, he liked his job, he had made a lot of friends.”
Alex made the most of his time there; he entered triathlons, biked, swam and enjoyed a healthy lifestyle. He also dedicated time to his church, going on mission trips and leading a group at his house each week. “We were very proud of him,” Lorry said. Alex’s enthusiasm inspired Lorry’s oldest son, who lives in Pittsburgh. He ran the Pittsburgh marathon in his brother’s honor.
Every year, sponsors’ generous donations help support the race. When they first started out, the Miller family wrote letters to people they knew from the oil and gas industry. Local companies were also eager to sponsor the race.
One small business, Ashland RV Park, became a sponsor because the owner’s son went to school with Lorry’s son Seth. They are one of the recurring sponsors. They also get a few new sponsors each year. “We tried to branch out… You have to keep looking for new people who are willing to sponsor. We just hope that grows every year, ” Lorry said.
The idea of adding a scholarship to the run was a natural extension of Alex’s interest in learning. “He loved Marietta College; we just thought that would be a nice way to number one help the college, and to keep Alex’s memory alive. It was very important to us that he not be forgotten.”
The third annual Alex Miller Memorial Run will be held Sunday, April 11. The race begins at 8:00 a.m. at The Gathering Place at Marietta College. There will be prizes awarded for the first three men and women who finish the course (six prizes in all). The registration fee is $25 and opens at 7:00 a.m. There are nearly 160 people preregistered for the race, but they get between 50-60 additional runners the day of the race — so if you’re free Saturday, grab your sneakers and head on out!
For more information, visit their website here: http://www.alexmillermemorialrun.com/