The AFL PLayer's Association to Gold Coast’s Touk Miller about his relationship with running and the connection it has provided him and his mum, Ruthie Kimpton.
Running has always been a big part of Gold Coast vice-captain Touk Miller’s life.
At just 12, he flew to New York with his mum Ruthie as she attempted to run the New York Marathon for the first time.
Too young to run himself, Miller met his mum at two key locations in the city before supporting her as she crossed the finish line.
Miller navigated his way through the city streets and his mum worked her way to crossing off a bucket-list item.
“She was proud as punch when she saw me a couple of kilometres out from the finish line waiting for her,” Miller told aflplayers.com.au ahead of lululemon’s Global Running Day on June 3.
Miller and his mum still joke that it was one of the more interesting parenting moments Ruthie has had, but it helped solidify an important bond the two share with running.
For as long as Miller can remember, Ruthie has enjoyed running as a means of keeping her mind and body healthy.
When Ruthie started running, Miller said a short 400m jog around the block was a struggle.
But she has since run 20 (yes, 20) marathons and has no plans of slowing down.
Miller credits his mum’s healthy lifestyle for helping him also adopt the mindset and understanding required as a professional athlete.
“I used to ride my bike next to her when she would go for long runs – we’d go to Williamstown and back from our home in Ascot Vale,” he said.
“I would start to get involved and run with her when they were shorter distances.”
With Miller now living on the Gold Coast and following a strict football training program, running with his mum hasn’t come as easily but the two are still able to support each other through the highs and lows associated with sport.
“I think you could say Mum is an amateur elite athlete because she’s so fit and understands the pressures and stress of training, balancing loads and having to hit targets and markers,” Miller said.
While they don’t run together as frequently any more, the mother-son duo ran the Melbourne Marathon festival in October last year – Ruthie’s 10th event – with Miller completing the half marathon.
When the timing is right, Miller says the two have plans to run a full marathon together.
“Mum’s run the bulk of them but we’d like to do the London Marathon or the Marathon du Medoc in France where you drink wine along the way,” he said.
Running 20 marathons is no easy feat and for Miller, it’s difficult to get his head around the magnitude of what his mum has been able to achieve.
“The amount of time and effort that you have to put in is incredible,” he said.
“I’ve been there when she’s running in cold weather, early morning wake-ups and those emotional runs where you’re trying to push for a better time.
“To be there every step of the way and support her as she tries to achieve her goals is special.”