AEC Athlete Spotlight: Ian M.
AEC Athlete Spotlight: Ian M.



I’m from the ultra running Mecca of Lancaster, PA; home of Zach Miller and some lesser known runners.  I grew up playing organized sports, but fell in love with running after a skydiving accident in 2006.  I’ve competed in various distances in triathlon and road racing, but was always injured.  Trail running has been amazing and keeps me motivated to stay healthy.


Crushing Bull Run 50 miler.  8 overall and 1st masters.


Get to know Ian:


How do you start your running career?


I had many false starts over the years.  It wasn’t until I started doing triathlons that I really enjoyed running.  But I was always injured and focusing on the wrong aspects.  Combining a mid-life crisis and a work retreat at the starting line of Western States, I found my calling back to ultra running.


Podcasts, Music or silence on long runs?


Silence - I enjoy being able to take in nature and not distract myself causing numerous falls.


Any podcast, book or movie recommendations (can be endurance-related or not)?


I rarely listen to music while I run.  I’ll put a podcast on for shorter workouts; which is usually ultra running related.  A few of my favorites are Koopcast, Free Trail and Crack a brew with AJW.  I’ve also started going through the 400+ episodes of Ginger Runner Live, which are amazing.


Favorite meal after a big workout?


Pizza or Nachos


Best city (or particular road / trail) to go for a run in?


Mason Dixon trail.  It has an amazing mix of technical beast coast style, or fun flowing single track.  Zach Miller trains on it when he’s visiting his parents.


Favorite race you've run and why?


I haven’t found a bad trail race yet.  There’s a local series around the equinox that is fat-ass style.  It’s a great group that supports it and draws in all different types of runners.  Everyone who’s involved made a huge impact on my life and running career in the past year.  


Bucket list race that you hope to tackle someday?


Eastern States 100.  It’s close to home and not my style at all.  I’d also love to do a 200+ mile race, but not sure I’d be able to finish.


Who are you following in the space/industry?


I love seeing the shoes being put out.  I’m a tech geek and will follow anyone doing reviews on shoes.  I follow most of the major athletes on IG.  Two that stand out though are Anton Krupicka and his lifestyle of running, climbing, cycling and Annie Hughes.  Annie juggles running super long distances and also coaches the local cross country team.  Seeing the balance/differences in athletes is fun.


What are your favorite training apps and resources and why?


Training Peaks is great.  Coach Brian loads my workouts and I can forget about what I need to do.  I have a Coros watch that also will sync and alert me on the workouts for changing sets/intervals. 


Any favorite cross-training workouts or disciplines?


I’ve recently started mountain biking and also play disc golf.  I’ve found there’s a lot I can apply from disc golf and ultra running that work well together.  It’s also nice to have a low impact activity that can pair well with running.


Do you have a moment that stands out as defining during your running career?


In 2023, I finished the celestial grand slam; a local running series run around the solstice.  While it’s a small fat-ass series, I did rack up two wins and a second and third.


If you had to pick one: morning or evening runs?


Evening/nights.  I love being out under the stars


If you had to pick one: hot temp run (90F) or cold temp (20F) run?


Hot temp run.  I love running in the cold, but my hands get cold too quick


If you had to pick one: speed vs endurance?


Endurance all day


What drove you to the decision of hiring a coach?


I always wanted a coach in my triathlon days, but never had one.  I actually won three months of coaching from Brian and right away I knew he was a game changer.


What caught your eye about Coach Brian and AEC when you were searching for a coach to work with on your journey?


I had secured a spot in Leadville and Coach Brian ran a contest.  I won the 3 months of coaching and was hooked right away.  We started in April of 2022 and I’ve since convinced my sister to work with Coach Brian.


What type of training / distance focus is your primary objective with AEC and Coach Brian?  


Ultra distances (50k and above) has been my focus.  I couple those with weekend adventures of long trail runs that are not race focused.


Do you have a defining moment (or proudest achievement) while working with Brian? (Might overlap with the earlier defining moment, totally fine!)


All of 2023.  I ran 6 ultra races and had many other long weekend adventures built into it.  My “bad races” far exceeded my expectations.  I was able to stay relatively healthy and focus on my family and career all while performing at a level higher than I anticipated.  I became the first person to complete the Solstice Grand Slam, a local race series.  I also took the win in two of them.


If you had to define Coach Brian with only 3 words, what would come to mind?


Knowledgeable, caring, supportive


How does Coach Brian help you prepare your mindset for big events or races?


He always assures me I’m prepared for the races I’ve selected.  I’ve also bounced ideas off on potential races and he will provide honest feedback helping me decide if it’s something I should pursue or not.


What type of athlete would benefit from working with Coach Brian and AEC?


I would say 99% of the athletes out there would be able to benefit.  Coach Brian can identify stressors, areas to improve, and strengths and go from there to build a successful training plan.  He is proactive in supporting life issues and makes sure you stay healthy and focus on the long term goals.  I’ve had too many friends stay injured, unfocused and frustrated.  I’ve told them all Coach Brian would be able to help them work around their own unique circumstances and help them execute to be the best athlete they can be.


Anything else you'd like to add?


I tell people Coach Brian is more like a life coach than just my running coach.  I’m able to apply his teachings to all aspects of my life and excel.  He’s someone I know will be there if I have a question about training or a race, or just need to bounce ideas off of.  I had a low point after two DNF’s in 2021 and took a month break to reset.  Coach Brian had me back to training and excited to take on the next adventure.