Don "Punky" Mills
Year Inducted: 2013
We honor Punky posthumously. He passed on in 2012. His loving wife Pam
helped us compile some of the highlights of his more than thirty years of
running and racing ...
Don (Punky) started running in his late 30’s. He ran not only for the challenge and competitiveness of the sport, but also for love of the friends he ran with over the years. Pam met him in 1988 when he was 46. He told her that he had more than 300 race shirts. Over the years, they lost track of how many t-shirts and awards he had collected. At age 70, he was still enjoying running and racing, with a spirit of competition and camaraderie. Punky ran 120 races between 1985-1987 including the Chicago and Boston marathons. He ﬁnished no less than 3rd place for his age group in 85 of those races, and won or placed in the overall division at a number of the races.
All of his PR’s came as a master runner. In 1984 (age 42), Punky set his marathon PR in Chicago (2:57:12). His other PR’s include the 10K (34:41) and half-marathon (1:18:50) both at age 43; and 5K (16:56) at age 46.
In 1988, he raced in the Cleveland Revco 10K, a race that drew national and international level talent. Punky ran along side Bill Rodgers during the race. At some point Bill said to Punky “let’s go get them”. Punky ﬁnished 3rd in his age group (37:53) and Bill ﬁnished two seconds behind him.
If you were to try and come up with a description of a person who could serve as an ambassador of running from our Dayton running community, Punky could be the role model. Not only was he a very good runner, but he also understood and embraced the camaraderie of running in a way we all can admire.
When he ﬁnished well at a race, he did not just go to the sidelines and rest on his accolades. He would go back on the course to encourage others to push harder. If he was injured and couldn’t race, he was still there to cheer on his friends. Punky loved life, people and the running community.