Di Miller from Springfield still runs marathons at 64.Photo: Darren Hallesy/ The Queensland Times
Di Miller from Springfield still runs marathons at 64.Photo: Darren Hallesy/ The Queensland Times Darren Hallesy

Springfield's unsung hero defying all odds

IF YOU said 'get up at 4am every day and practice running for my next marathon', then you're pretty close to the life of Springfield's Di Miller.

Mrs Miller not only runs every single day, but is proof that sometimes when people tell you not to do something, you should do the complete opposite.

About 17 years ago, Di was told that chances are she would lose the use of her legs. After four bypass surgeries, chances were that the circulation in her body meant that her legs would end up in a bad way. She was a smoker, carrying a bit too much weight, and in her own words 'in a bad way'.

Yet Di was determined to prove the doctors wrong, and now in her mid-sixties has competed 24 consecutive Brisbane Marathons. She runs every single day, and credits it with her positive outlook on life, her health and her social life.

Now she wants to spread the message that 'Age is just a number'.

"I've been running since 1984. I worked for Monier and as part of a staff 'keep fit' campaign we did a fun run, and I loved it,” Di said.

"I started running from lamp post to lamp post. One day I'd run up to the third one on the street, then the fourth, then the fifth and so on. I had six weeks to learn to run 5.6 kilometres, and I got hooked on running...I've been doing it ever since.”

Di loves to defy the doctors. After four bypass surgeries her doctors told her that it might be 'a good idea' to give up running, as there was a chance that she could end up losing her legs.

"I had blockages in my main arteries and I've had four bypasses. When I got to the fourth the doctors said to me that because of the problems I've had, it might cause an issue with blood getting to my feet.

"Bad circulation to my lower limbs could cause them to stop functioning, and I was told that there was a chance I could lose my legs from the knees down.

"After the first bypass my doctor said that I should give up running, but at that stage running was my world. It was my 'me' time, a time to chill out, a time to think, and it still is” Di said.

"I had two bypasses in the space of one month. I'm convinced that all my running and walking has worked wonders for me.”

It's this attitude that means Di now feels like she has a lease of life and attitude to the future that most of us can only wish for.

"My dad died at sixty one and I was coming up to my fiftieth and thought, I don't want to die in eleven years, so I figured it was time to 'grow a pair' as they say.

"I thought, I can't run a marathon, but I can still run/walk.”

In addition to running, you'll often find Di and husband Bob at the local skate park, cleaning up rubbish as she got in the habit of doing it after she started to collect cans to raise money for charity.

"I got sick and tired of the skate rink only being cleaned once a month, so I just got in the habit of cleaning it up. It's about being active,” Di said.

"Even if you get up early and go for a walk, it keeps you busy. Anyone can do it. A friend of mine is 70 and has just started running. He runs a kilometre in under five minutes and now he's also taken up cycling. Age is just a number.

"If we can all encourage more older people to do it that's a good thing. I believe in 'mind over matter'. If you think you're sick you will be sick and vice versa.

"I don't want to sit around and become a 'norm'. It's the interaction with people I like the most.

"When you sit at home watching TV, a bit of gardening...you're not being social. Having that interest in exercise means I'm out there and meeting people and seeing sights.”

Councillor David Morrison has known Di Miller and husband Bob for some years and went so far as to say they were amongts the unsing heroes of the Springfield community.

"Di has been through many struggles yet is always very positive with the heart to serve and help others,” Cr Morrison said.

"Bob and Di took it upon themselves to pick up rubbish around the Skate Park in Springfield each morning around 4.30 am while on their morning walk.

"People who drop their rubbish in our community and in some cases illegally dump their rubbish, expecting someone else will pick up after them have an ugly and selfish attitude.

"I am very thankful and encouraged by people like Di and Bob Miller who selflessly pick up rubbish in our community each day while they are doing their walking circuit.

"The longer I live the more I appreciate how beautiful and powerful is the attitude and actions of selflessness.”

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