Sarah Miller: Turning FSU's Running Club into a Community

Sarah Miller is currently an undergraduate student here at FSU and is the proud founder of FSU’s very first running club. I met with Sarah at the track on Wednesday as she prepared for the running club’s practice that evening. Students were stretching and running while Sarah and I took a seat on the bleachers so I could ask her a few questions about her and her organization.

Courtesy: Sarah Miller

Her Campus (HC): Can you tell me a little bit about the running club and how you came to create it?

Sarah Miller (SM): Of course! When I graduated high school, I took a gap year in Israel. I joined cross country and track in high school so this was my first time running without a team and I ended up really missing that team aspect. So, when I came to FSU, I just automatically assumed I’d join a running team to find that only there wasn’t one.

HC: Oh wow, not even a cross-country club or something like that?

SM: The closest thing they had to a running club was a triathlon club but that wasn’t really what I was looking for, so I decided to create one. My organization started out with just five dedicated people who would come out to the track, and now it’s grown into this massive organization with over 50 people. This is our third year running and we officially just became a club sport. It’s really exciting, this was always the end goal in my mind. This is where I wanted the club to go and we’ll actually be traveling to different schools in Florida for competitions.

HC: Obviously you’re very passionate about the sport so when would you say is the first time you realized how much you love running?

SM: I started running my freshman year of high school. I went to a new public school and I didn’t know anyone, so figured I might as well join something to meet people and make friends in a school of 3,000 kids. So, on the first day of school, I walked my butt out to the track and met the cross country team. I ended up really loving the team and the people on the team so it ended up being this thing I did all throughout high school. I don’t think my real love for the sport hit until my sophomore year in high school. Freshman year I was just doing it to meet people, but sophomore year I started to get pretty competitive. I was hitting lower times and it was around then that I realized that not only do I love the people, but I’m kind of good at this! I got burnt out a little bit after high school. That’s why I decided to train on my own to kind of step away from it all. But of course, my feelings for team spirit came back and that’s how I got re-affiliated with it at FSU.

HC: With regards to going out there and creating your own club, would you consider yourself a leader? Were you expecting yourself to take this initiative?

SM: Honestly, I think it’s a little bit the opposite of what you’re thinking. Basically, when I went to join the running club and found out there wasn’t one, I thought I might have missed it or didn't see it. Finally, I walked over to the head of sports clubs and asked him about the running club. That was when he told me that FSU actually doesn’t have one and the closest thing was the triathlon club. So, I went back to the guy and said that I was going to start my own running club. He told me I was crazy and that it was going to be a lot of work but I was serious about it. This is something that I wanted to do and it’s incredibly important to me.

HC: What’s something that you’ve gained from this experience that you believe has made you a better person or that you’ll carry with you after college?

SM: The value of communication. This is a really poor trait of mine because sometimes I’m in my own world and forget that there’s a world of people that are not only here to help me, but to work with me for the success of the club. I think this is why the club has become a lot more successful over the past year too. We sat down and had an honest conversation where it was brought to my attention that I don’t communicate very well. I’m very much a type A person. I’m a go-getter so when this came up I really made it my job to work on my communication. And it’s weird because I always thought I was really good at communicating with people but when you have multiple people addressing it as a problem, it’s hard to argue and obviously, I needed to make a change.

HC: Before I let you go is there anything else that you feel is especially important for me to know?

SM: Something that’s important to me is that even though we’re a club sport and people sometimes think that’s intimidating, we are very warm and welcoming.  All of our members tend to say that’s the happiest part about running club. Everyone’s out here and no one really cares what pace you’re going. We’re all together making friends and hanging out. I never want people to be intimidated or discouraged!

HC: Thank you so much for sitting down with me. I hope you guys have a great practice!