Physical Fitness Instructor/Alum Running NYC Marathon for Charity

Transcending the personal benefits of running, an instructor of fitness and lifetime sports is entering this year’s New York City Marathon to bring attention to a debilitating neurological condition.

Emily B. Miller, a faculty member in the School of Health Sciences and a 2002 graduate of Penn College’s physical fitness specialist major, is running the Nov. 2 race as a fundraiser for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation in honor of a friend’s father. Dystonia is a neurological disorder that causes muscles to contract and spasm involuntarily, creating twisting movements and abnormal postures and making movement difficult.

Emily B. Miller, at the Oct. 13 Steamtown Marathon

Emily B. Miller, at the Oct. 13 Steamtown Marathon

“After hearing the debilitating physical effects from the flare-ups her father was suffering, I just couldn’t imagine how physically, emotionally and mentally taxing this disease is on the body,” Miller said of her inspiration. “When my friend asked me if I would like to run in honor of her father and for the Dystonia Foundation, without hesitation I said, ‘Yes!’

“I know the physical pain and exhaustion that comes from training for distance events is short-lived, but the effects from Dystonia are lifelong struggles until more research can be conducted to help find a cure.”

Miller is training 30 to 40 miles a week for the marathon, which will be her second in as many years. (She entered the Steamtown Marathon in 2013, finishing 918 out of 2,157 runners – and in less than four hours.) Her purposeful love of the sport dovetails with a “special topics” course in fitness running to be offered at the college this fall, helping students develop a personal program while preparing them to complete a 5K run.

From her experience in Scranton last year, Miller is aware of the physical and mental demands of running 26-plus miles – especially the perseverance needed from the 20-mile mark onward. Still, she said, “this is a cause worth running 100 miles for.”

To meet her $2,500 goal for the race, Miller is accepting contributions online and via cell phone. Interested donors can visit her Dystonia Foundation pledge page or text “RUN EMILY” to 90999.

4 Comments

  1. Jeanne Kerschner says:

    Best wishes, Emily! You are an inspiration to many of us.

    Posted August 11, 2014 at 9:08 am
  2. Toney Harstead says:

    Good luck! You will do great!!

    Posted August 11, 2014 at 10:42 am
  3. Tushanna Habalar says:

    Your efforts at maintaining a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle are fantastic. I admire your spirit and enthusiasm. I will be be cheering you on, Emily, and I will be making a donation!

    Posted August 11, 2014 at 11:49 am
  4. Timothy H. Hornsby says:

    Thank you, Emily, for running for DMRF. I have Dystonia and have severe cramps, spasms and twisting of the feet/legs. I can’t get up out of a chair or walk at times and spend lots of times in the bed. I also take nine different medicines a day and at times have to take Valium as well as two different pain medicines. Thanks for running for those of us that can’t run. I will be making a donation for you. There are several kinds of Dystonia. There are approximately 300,000 people in North America with this disease. Thank you, Emily.

    Posted August 11, 2014 at 3:59 pm

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