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When she was 11 years old, Erin Miller decided to take the run she’d been working on for several years, even if she couldn’t see it, and run for a city council seat in Vermont.
The run was so challenging, Miller told me, she would have to run with her hands in the air and not even breathe.
Her goal: win.
Her father and other volunteers would pick her up and take her to a nearby run track.
Erin would run the course with her mother and a running buddy, and the two would keep a watchful eye on the runners.
But one night, the mom told her that Erin’s run was being watched.
It was time to take off.
“I was scared, but I couldn’t do anything to stop it,” she told me.
Erin was the youngest of eight children.
Her parents divorced when she was 6, and she grew up in the city of Rochester, where she spent summers working as a waitress.
Her dad moved to Vermont to work as a firefighter.
When Erin was 13, she joined the U.S. Army and then served as a nurse on the USS Enterprise, which made it easier for her to train to become a nurse.
She completed her nursing training and began working as an orthopedic surgeon.
“It was just like the magic happened,” she said.
“As soon as I started training, it just kind of took off.”
In 2007, Erin decided she wanted to become an orthopaedic surgeon, and after several unsuccessful attempts, she got the chance to run for the city council of Burlington, Vermont.
Her run for council was the first of many, and Miller said she thought the run would help her raise enough money to get her family to New Hampshire for summer vacation.
“The run was just so inspiring,” Miller told a reporter for a local newspaper.
“Even though I wasn’t doing it to win the race, I just wanted to help.”
Miller was the second runner to finish her run, but her mother, Debbie, who has two young children, was in the crowd cheering and cheering and cheered.
“When she started running, she was just about to lose her cool, so she went through the motions,” she recalled.
“She was like, ‘I’m going to make this thing happen.’
And then she did it.”
The run that Erin and her mom made was so well-received, she decided to do it again.
The next year, Erin ran for mayor, and it was that year that she became the first woman elected to the Vermont Legislature.
After running for office for several decades, Erin went back to school to get a degree in psychology.
But after her election to the legislature, Erin was elected to a third term as the city’s mayor.
“My daughter is a very humble, compassionate person, and that is a part of her that I have not found on other people,” Miller said.
Miller said the experience inspired her to do something different.
“After running for a long time, I wanted to find something that I thought I could do and that people would love,” she added.
“So I decided to run again.”
When Erin finished her second run for city council, she went back and ran in the same spot on the same course again.
But this time, she ran in a different direction.
Instead of just running, Erin took her daughter’s phone and took her phone to a park to do a phone call.
It wasn’t her usual routine.
The runner was so busy running the course that she didn’t have time to look at her watch, and Erin didn’t see her.
Instead, Erin watched as her daughter ran.
“There were moments where I thought she was doing the right thing,” Erin said.
The running was “just like magic,” Erin told me as she described the run.
“And I was just going to keep running.”
The runner kept her distance, and as she was nearing the finish line, she asked Erin, “How did you do that?”
Erin said she couldn: she had been working her way up the course, from the starting line, until she was nearly at the top.
But she could only tell her daughter that she’d run in the wrong direction.
“No,” Erin remembered telling her daughter.
“You did the right things.
The right way.”
Erin’s daughter told her she was proud of Erin.
“That was the best moment,” Erin recalled.
The Run for Vermont Running is a non-profit organization run by Erin Miller and her running coach, Julie Schuster.
The goal of the run is to encourage people to do more of what they love to do: run.
They also help other young runners find mentors and help them achieve their dream of running.
In 2018, the organization ran a 50K race that brought over 100 young runners to the park.
This year, they’ve brought a second run to the same park, this time for a group of young people.