My name is Ian Stevens. Originally from England I moved to Chicago many years ago and live with my wife in a western suburb of the great city.
Growing up as a kid in England I lived in a rural town surrounded by outdoor life where I found plenty of time to explore on foot or by bike. In high school I ran cross country and played on my school’s rugby team. An underlining issue though was asthma which I have spent my whole life with and came with trips to hospital but always wanting to get back to the outdoors. In college my accounting professor was a runner who signed up for the London marathon. Watched the race on the BBC and was inspired. That night the news showed highlights and there was my professor, Mr. Bright, running down The Mall by Buckingham Palace and promptly fainting before the camera. He finished, spent two days in hospital, told the tale in class and yet I was still inspired.
Moving to Chicago and living by the Lakefront I discovered 18 miles of flat limestone and paved trails so took up running again to get fit, did a few 5k and 10k races then thought about doing a marathon. Signed up with Chicago Area Runners Association training programs and in a few years I ran the Chicago Marathon, my first of a total of nine marathons which lead to five 50k trail races. Thinking back to high school cross country and my discovery of trail running I had found my sports niche.
In the past number of years my running took a back seat having gone back to school to complete a BA degree and landing my dream job in human resources. Then of course, the pandemic hit so if I was not studying via Zoom, I was busy at work as HR and recruiting in an essential field took on new meaning.
One thing I have been able to do when not running is and volunteering at races. I have done everything in the running world from directing races to handling race day logistics, setting up racecourses, timing events, recruiting volunteers, working expos, and even picking up elite runners at the airport. Volunteering at trail ultras gives me a buzz has I get a front row view of those aiming to complete their ultra-goal. Over the years I have had the pleasure to crew at some famous ultras including Badwater, Western States, Javelina Jundred to name a few.
I might be slow, but I love to give 100% whether running, hiking or volunteering. And thanks to running and an outdoor life my asthma is controlled. As a slower runner I have a motto when running a slow race “More Trail Time for the Money”.