“I don’t know if it found me or I found it,’’ chuckled Miles Fowler, as he sat on Queens University’s HBO Terrace recently, pondering his varied campus career. “But it was a great blend to bring me into the sport.”
Fowler, a new assistant triathlon coach, 2020 graduate, and current master’s student described the sport of triathlon as a rigorous, self-driven, but gratifying game.
Fowler is in his sixth year at Queens, having arrived as an undergrad in 2016. He studied exercise science with a minor in psychology, and he trained on the Queens Triathlon team.
Fowler stayed on at Queens to get his MBA in exercise science and began coaching full-time this past summer.
Coaching “is a passion of mine,” Fowler said, adding that he wants to give the university the same joy he got from this program by training athletes like himself.
“I’ve put aside my own individual aspirations in the sport at the current moment but am still staying fit to train my athletes,” he said. Instead, his priorities include coaching and working on his MBA.
Fowler started his athletic journey at age 10. That year, Fowler became intrigued with running after watching his dad run after work to release stress. Especially when children are young, “anything your dad does,’’ Fowler said, “is the latest and greatest thing.”
Fowler started running, then competing in local races, and he eventually joined the cross country team at his Lexington, SC, high school. Early on, Fowler said, he was an “average runner.”
What pushed him was his team’s winning streak, a trend that he wanted to continue and be a part of. Some of his teammates were competing in triathlons, so Fowler got a road bike and started biking with them. The running was fun but pounded his joints. But with the biking, where the physical impact was less, he found that he could push himself harder.
“I told my parents I wanted to try a triathlon,’’ he said. They were shocked, he recalled. But they supported his passion and made it happen.
Triathlon hasn’t always come easy for Fowler.
In May 2015, a car hit Fowler while he was riding his bike, resulting in a severe concussion and cuts requiring multiple stitches. After that incident, he said he was uncertain how the accident would impact his college plans and his potential as a college athlete.
But he knew he would never quit trying. A month after the accident, Fowler got back into training and competed in his first race. He described that race as one of the most satisfying races he has ever completed.
Meanwhile, Fowler had been in contact with Sonni Dyer, Queens’ first head triathlon coach who had started the program that year. As a Carolina resident, Fowler was familiar with the Charlotte area. Dyer set up a time to meet Fowler in person, and when he arrived on the Queens campus, he knew it was home.
Dyer described Fowler as a “hardworking, detailed, team player with we vs. me mentality.’’
“Fowler has strong TRI-knowledge,’’ his coach said, “and is willing to embrace technology that allows us to use metrics and data points to quantify our training approach.”
Fowler has been with Dyer for over six years now and described him as a valued coach and a mentor. In the future, Fowler sees himself building a program similar to the Queens triathlon program but will not likely be sitting behind a desk, his mother Angela Fowler said in a telephone interview.