Sam Miller Oral History Summary


Sam Miller Oral History Summary


Sam Miller


Summary of an Oral History Recording with interviewee Sam Miller


Michael Romyn


Kent's Sporting Memories


24 July. 2019


Sam Miller; Michael Romyn


Kent's Sporting Memories


Sam Miller Oral History Recording


Microsoft Word Document




Typed Summary


Sam Miller


Kent’s Sporting Memories Oral History Summary
Interviewee: Sam Miller
Interviewer: Michael Romyn
Date: 19 July, 2019
Location: Sam’s home in Hawkinge, Kent

0:00 Name, place and date of birth (Sam Miller; Dover, Kent; 4 November, 1974); Sam’s itinerant upbringing, in and around Kent, due to her father’s work (fire officer); moving to south Wales when she was fourteen before returning to Kent when she was nineteen; the experience of changing schools regularly, and how her social nature helped her to fit in.
1:37 Sam’s parents are both from Whitstable; neither Sam’s family nor Sam were particularly interested in sport, although she did enjoy horse-riding and being outside; growing up, Sam would work at various stables in order to get a chance to ride; Sam was given her first horse when the family moved to south Wales.
3:19 Sam’s memories of running at school – ‘I remember hating running at school – and the reasons behind her early dislike of the sport; moving back to Kent – to Densole- aged nineteen, where she worked in a pub run by her father, before joining the ambulance service; Sam’s mum worked full time in a doctor’s surgery, first as a receptionist and then as a practice manager – ‘my mum and my dad were always at work, giving us the things we had like horses and supporting my brothers but, yeah, everybody just sort of pulled together.’
5:30 Sam’s parents still live in Hawkinge; her lack of interest in non-horse-related sport after leaving school – ‘no running even crossed my mind. It was work, home and horses and that’s all I did’; her family’s involvement in sport; changes to the ambulance service since Sam started working twenty-five years ago, including the extra strain on the service and the increasing pressures and responsibilities of her job.
9:30 Sam explains the circumstances behind her first foray into running in 2011 – ‘I kind of got pushed into it’; Sam’s decision, following her first Race for Life, to train for the Royal Parks half marathon in London – ‘It was brilliant. And that was it, no turning back’; Sam’s continued dedication to training and competing, and her love of collecting medals.
10:50 From Sam’s dislike of running as a schoolgirl, to her newfound appreciation of the sport – ‘maybe it was the fact that I was doing it for me…it was my choice to do it’; Sam describes her approach to running, and its social and meditative benefits; Sam explains how running gave her goals to aim for, how it made her a ‘nicer mum’, and how she became fitter, healthier and more active because of it.
14:30 Sam’s research and training regime in preparation for her first half marathon; the social side of running – ‘I’ve made some lifelong friends through running’; running habits and routines with different partners, and listening to music when running alone; how Sam progressed after the initial half marathon, including joining a running club in Canterbury.
19:00 Sam’s decision to set up her own running club while recovering from (non-running-related) knee surgery; her desire to make her club all-ability, and all-inclusive, and thus distinct from more exclusive athletics clubs; the diversity of ability that exists within her club, the Hawkinge Hurricanes, and how they all mix together – ‘you can be who you wanna be’.
22:20 Gaining a Leaders Qualification through England Athletics, and then embarking on a coaching qualification (also England Athletics) to better serve the club; Sam lists various training courses and qualifications that she and her team have taken part in.
25:30 The origins of Hawkinge Hurricanes, the reasons behind its affiliation with England Athletics, and the genesis of the club’s name; how Sam’s friends helped with the club’s logo and design; advertising and growing the club with posters and word of mouth, and becoming known around the village; where the club trains - in and around the village, in the countryside, on the beach and at the running track at the Duke of York School in Dover.
29:20 Expanding the club to include a group in Aylesham; the Hurricanes was founded in February 2016, with a membership of five – membership now stands at 227; more on the social side of the Hurricanes – get togethers, pub lunches, cycle rides, kayaking etc.; Sam and the club’s success at the Shepway Sports Trust Awards – in 2018 Sam was awarded Volunteer of the Year; Sam talks about the support the club has received from the Shepway Sports Trust and the feeling of being recognized at its awards;
35:35 Sam describes what it was like winning three awards – Sport Project of the Year, Coach of the Year, and Club of the Year – at the 2019 Shepway Sports Trust Awards; the Hurricanes work with Deaf UK to support a deaf athlete (now a Club Leader) in the club; the Hurricanes 2019 runnability project, which now supports fifteen athletes with Down’s syndrome, making it the only club in Kent to do so.
42:05 The stress on positive mental health at the club, and the training in mental health that some of its leaders and coaches have undertaken; the club’s initiatives in mental health, such as a ‘dog jog’, and its plans to work in schools on issues around mental health; Sam describes how running has helped her deal with stress, and how she ‘juggles’ work with her obligations to the club – ‘I like to keep busy’.
45:45 Sam’s own running achievements, including running in three ‘ultra-marathon’ 100km events; her determination to finish every event/race she started; Sam explains her approach to long distance events – ‘I’m more like a tortoise. I’ll get there when I’m good and ready’ – and the training she does now; Sam’s completed fifteen full marathons in total (two London marathons) and says the Jersey marathon – the only marathon she’s run on her own – was her favourite; her hypothetical retirement from marathon running – ‘never say never’ – and her desire to run ‘as long as my body lets me’
51:55 The importance of running to Sam – ‘It’s part of who I am now, and the club is part of who I am now’; Sam’s plans for the future of the Hurricanes, including growing the Down’s syndrome group and launching a ‘plogging’ group – an initiative to pick up litter while jogging.
55:00 The ethos of the club – ‘Fun, Fit and Friendly’; how the club feels like a family to Sam; her fondest memories and proudest achievements with the club, and the joy in doing so well at the Shepway Sports Trust awards.