Monday, December 14, 2009


Our lives are marked by change: continually adapting, altering, and refocusing. I have come to a crossroads, a point where my life is undergoing dramatic change.

I am not a stranger to change. I’ve jumped from career to career. I’ve seen the wilds of Nevada, Utah, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wyoming with the National Park Service, discovered the big city lights of Seattle with Montrail, and ogled the natural wonders of the Colorado Plateau with a non-profit in Arizona; new skills, new people and new places. Most recently I discovered the diverse natural wonders that surround southern Oregon’s small town of Ashland, but more importantly, while there, became immersed in a network of friends, very good friends. That is why my next step is probably one of the most difficult of my life.

The small town of Ashland, Oregon.

I am taking much with me from my two and a half years at Rogue Valley Runners:  the ambiguities of managing a busy retail shop and its employees, co-race directing four different, successful events, including a national championship and learning the ins and outs of the running retail world.  It was impressively amazing to see the store grow both as a business and in popularity.  I was continually stupefied by the prowess and energy of its employees and continual stream of notable visitors the store attracted.  It served as a gathering place for the inspiring as well as the inspired.  I was glad to be a part of it all.

I must now turn my attention to a man who deserves my thanks and gratitude.  Mr. Hal Koerner, Rogue Valley Runners’ owner and visionary.  In June 2007, after I had a rather dreadful display at Western States, I called upon my best friend Hal.  I needed change and he offered me that opportunity.  He trusted me enough to come to Ashland, with no prior retail experience, to help manage his store.  The rest is history and, in short, Hal enabled me to rekindle my own love of running and express it in a community that welcomed it.  I thank my friend for that chance.

 Snow covered Mt. Humphey's looms over downtown Flagstaff, Arizona.

I am returning to Flagstaff, Arizona.  I am returning to the American southwest, a place that, upon discovering it fifteen years ago, has grown to become a part of me.  The vast expanses in which to get lost, the rock formations and majestic mountains that riddle the landscape, the summer monsoons and its harsh diversity that make it unique in character pull me back again.  However, I return not only for this reason.

I have been offered a position I cannot refuse.  Another opportunity to grow, meet new people, learn new skills, foster those I already have and experiment with the thought that I can do more, both for myself and for a sport I am truly passionate about.

My voyage will land me in Flagstaff under the tutelage of Greg McMillan.  Greg is the founder and intelligence behind both McMillan Running and McMillan Elite; both of which are on the forefront of today’s modern running world.  McMillan Running is one of today’s most successful on-line training programs. Originally oriented toward and successful with runners training for distances between the half-mile and the marathon, I plan to help Greg expand by adding an ultra-component to the company.  This will come in various ways; coaching, race directing, presentations and writing to name a few.  I will also assist with the team called McMillan Elite.  McMillan Elite’s mission is to develop post-collegiate athletes capable of competing successfully at the national and international level in long distance running.

The prospects are exciting and the possibilities endless, and as with any life altering decision come that mixed bag of emotions:  apprehension, exhilaration, anxiety and optimism.  I’ve wrestled with them all:  both the dreams and the nightmares.  Then I remind myself, without any of this, it truly wouldn’t be change. 


Annie Taylor said...

Ian, you'll be missed immensely. You have done a great job at Hal's store -- always making sure those special orders were placed and received!! However, change is good and I wish you all the best.

Erin Keller said...

Wow, Ian! This all sounds very exciting. You will be missed around here. Your blog and your quirky sense of humor have been some of the glue that holds the community together, and lets us know what the others are doing.
I'm even more happy that you're in WS now. It will be one more chance to wish you well! Best of luck in your newest adventure! Erin

Rob Cain said...

Wow, this is a huge change. We will greatly miss you Ian. You've been a wonderful ambassador for the sport in the Rogue Valley, and no doubt will continue to be in your new capacity. We will no doubt cross paths and will look forward to those opportunities.

I note you waited until after the ultra party to make the announcement. Interesting timing...

Mr Trail Safety said...

congratulations on your next move. Sounds wonderful!

Rogue Valley Runners said...

Big news! Congrats my man. The RVR family will miss you immensely.

This reminds me of one of your favorite songs, "More Than Words" by Extreme. Right?

brian mcguire said...

Say it ain't so, Ian!
We will miss you in ways we don't yet know.
I commend your courage and fearlessness in taking this big step. You stretch, you grow.
You have left a very big mark on the local running scene, as a runner, race director, chronicler, store manager, and friend to many.
Thank you for leaving Ashland a better place than it was before.

Paul DeWitt said...

Hey Ian - Congrats on the move and new job. Coincidently I was in Sacramento last Sunday with a friend who ran very well at Cal International (Trent B - 2:16) and he is a runner in the new group you're joining. I was telling him a little about you since I knew you spent a lot of time in Flagstaff. Take care,

AJW said...


This was great to read! From your tribute to Hal (one of the great guys in the sport) to your explication of why you are making this next move, your words were inspiring and from the heart. Really exciting. And Flagstaff, well, it doesn't get much better than that. See you in Squaw (if not before).

Your friend, AJW

John said...

Ian, you'll really be missed! You've added so much to the community! It really sounds like you've found a great opportunity in an area that really speaks to you. I truly hope you find great happiness in Flagstaff and that we'll get to cross paths with you in our adventures.

Anonymous said...

Ian, good luck! I'm sorry I won't be able to drop in you at the store anymore, though. BUT, I sat next to TrentB on the bus to the start line of Twin Cities a few months back-- super nice guy-- and they seem like a good bunch-- Best wishes-- (Hope you keep this blog going, too).

Jess Torrence Miller said...

Go Ian! You have support from your family, as always!

runninggirl97219 said...

Ian, I hate to see you go but it sounds like an amazing opportunity. I wish you the best.

Devon said...

Wow! I had no idea! Congrats. That is an awesome opportunity. I can really relate to your "last runs" post as well, as I just moved too!. Good luck!

Todd said...

Dude... We will miss you. You are my kind of people!

Rod Bien said...

Wow, I didn't know about the new job or the blog... Hey, congrats on everything that the future is holding for you. I'm bummed that I won't see you around as much but I look forward to running with you soon or at least drinking a beer together. Take care.