It’s Miller time at Auburn Triathlon

Former professional returns to his hometown to compete as an amateur today
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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For Scott Miller, a relaxing Sunday morning means returning to his hometown and swimming more than half a mile, biking 18 miles and running 4.3 miles. Even at age 50, the Reno resident is one of the men to beat in today’s Auburn Sprint Triathlon, one of three events held simultaneously today. Miller, a Placer High graduate, was a professional triathlete after graduating from Chico State and returning to Auburn, where he lived and trained. He now owns Eclipse Pizza Co. in Reno and competes occasionally at the amateur level. “This is a good race for me — I’ve got a home course advantage,” Miller said. “I know all those trails by heart. Auburn’s a fun race. Even though it’s really competitive, it’s a lot more fun than some of the races around. I think Brad (Kearns) wants to remind people that we’re out there to have fun. Generally the triathlon crowd is a more serious group.” Kearns, who started the Auburn Triathlon eight years ago, knows Miller well. The two trained together when both were on the professional circuit some 20 years ago. Now Kearns is the race director. His event began as the World’s Toughest Half and he’s added the sprint triathlon and the Auburn Duathlon since then. Today’s World’s Toughest Half Ironman starts with a 1.2-mile swim. Competitors then jump on their bikes for a 56-mile ride before finishing with a 13.1-mile run. The competition will begin at Rattlesnake Bar State Park at 6:30 a.m. The finish is at Auburn’s Railhead Park. Miller plans on competing for his age-group title, but he said it will be tough to contend for the overall sprint crown. Last year, John Christopher blazed through the course in 1 hour, 3 minutes to win. “At 50 years old, I’m not planning on winning,” Miller said. “I’ve been swimming well and running well, but I haven’t been riding (the bike) much. I’ll do well, but not as well as when I was younger.” Miller’s endurance resumè includes one very impressive highlight. He’s the only man to finish the Western States Endurance Run in less than 24 hours and the Hawaii Ironman World Championship Triathlon in less than 10 hours in the same year. He did it in 1988. “I think Western States was much harder than any triathlon,” said Miller, who completed the 100-mile run in 21 hours. “You’re going at a much faster pace at an Ironman. You get a chance to change muscles and it breaks up the pace. At Western States, you’re doing the same thing for the whole day.” Miller said he would like to run Western States again sometime, but the former ski racer is happy with his current training schedule, which keeps him active, but far from burned out. “I’ve been serious at times and there have been times when I haven’t been serious about competing,” he said. “But every year I sign up for at least one event and this year it’s Auburn. It keeps me fit and gets me out the door.”