TEAM FBC MEMBER INTERVIEWS.
EPISODE 6, IAN WRIGHTSON + SUSAN BROWN
Dream-team, power-duo, #couplegoals – call them what you will, but there’s no doubt our IPA-loving #TeamFBC Members Ian Wrightson + Susan Brown, know how to make the most of their mountainous backyard.
Originally from Prince George, Ian spent his childhood playing in lakes and exploring the wilderness around town. Having moved to Calgary after graduating high school, he brought his love for the outdoors with him, eventually landing himself in a community of trail runners that would change his life. Now working in the trades, you can find Ian running up and down mountains during his time off, topping off his days with a crisp Thunder Meadows IPA; his partner in crime, Susan Brown, always in tow.
Originally an East-Coaster from PEI, Susan’s been living out West since graduating University, and currently works for a non-profit. Out ‘n about whenever she’s not in the office, Susan is in her happy place when sipping on a Hit the Deck Hazy IPA after a long day on the trails. While she swears it tastes best with a side of depleted electrolytes and sore muscles, we’ll leave that for you to decide…
Without further ado, settle in, grab your favourite beer, and read on for a #TeamFBC Member Interview all about running, relationships, and more running…
FBC: We know both of you love being active in the mountains, and often get out adventuring together, but how did the dream-team come to be?
Ian: Susan and I met at a run meetup hosted by the Calgary Trail Runners where we tagged Moose Mountain, in Kananaskis. While we only shared a few words during that run, we ended up messaging after and planned another meetup a few weeks later at another local favourite, Prairie Mountain. We’ve pretty much spent every minute together since – we love getting out, running lots, and being active!
Susan: As they say, variety is the spice of life. Ian and I share a passion for being active and love trying out new activities! While running/trail running is our main activity, we love incorporating other activities into our day-to-day to compliment our training, including yoga, biking, weights, hikes with the doggos, ice-skating, and cross-country skiing. Since meeting each other, we’ve taken up a couple of new activities like disc golf, pickleball, SUP and roller skating. It’s been a blast learning these new activities and meeting other enthusiasts in the sports!
FBC: Being so close, do you have any tips/advice for others on how to adventure with your partner, given at times they may have different interests or ability levels?
Ian: I would say you definitely have to be willing to compromise and have lots of different options; some days I’m not feeling it at all and Susan is ready to rip. Other days, it’s the opposite. So we’re usually pretty fluid with our plans.
Susan: Patience and compromise. Ian and I have different strengths: he’s a climbing machine, who loves to rip on the downhills and is much more risk-forward than I’d ever dream to be. I’m more of a steady-paced gal and tend to be slightly stronger in the navigation and logistics space 😉 When we’re mapping out our plans for the weekend, or our after-work workout sessions, we take into account each other’s preferences and try to create a workout or adventure that has elements to please both. We’re each others biggest supporters, so we end up feeding off each other’s energy to keep the stoke high!
FBC: Compromising is so important! Speaking of your love for adventure, we know you’re both big runners. How did you get into that?
Ian: I started running later in life. I was fairly overweight and had an unhealthy lifestyle, but one winter I decided to make a change and hit the gym. My sister caught wind of what I was doing and convinced me that running a 5km together at the Calgary Marathon would be fun. I hit the treadmill and would run 5 minutes + walk 5 minutes, and eventually progressed to being able to run 30 minutes. Unfortunately, my sister wasn’t able to make it down in time for the race, but I ran it anyway and ended up finishing top 10 out of over 2000 people. I’ve been hooked on running and racing ever since!
Susan: I was involved in organized sports throughout my youth – ringette, field hockey, golf. Running, to some degree, has always been part of my training, but it became more of a passion as I transitioned from school to adult life. Running started as a way to remain fit, but then became my go-to for commuting and a way to reconnect with nature – which after spending a full day in the office is much needed. My first exposure to trail running was in 2015, when I was out hiking in K-country. I remember seeing two gazelles, prancing around the summit of Buller Mountain in nothing but short-shorts, a t-shirt and a light pack. As they passed by, I asked them about their day and they shared the route that had just ran and where they were going. I was blown away that people ‘ran’ mountains, but was so intrigued with the whole concept, that it was the first thing I Googled when I got into cell reception. Shortly after that, I hooked up with the Canmore Trail Culture and Calgary Trail Runners, and started learning the ins and the outs of trail running!
FBC: And the rest is history! So what do you love most about running long distance? And where are your go-to running spots?
Ian: I love long distance running for the challenge and for the adventure. It’s always an adventure! The trail/ultra running community in Calgary is amazing as well.
Susan: It’s so awesome meeting folks who share a similar passion, hearing their stories and dreaming up adventures (that rarely go as planned, but end up being as good or better than anticipated). I also love the distance that we can cover in a day, and are still able to be back home, for a good night’s rest in our own bed. We mainly train in Bragg Creek and the Bow Valley Area.
FBC: How has this past year been for you guys in terms of running, skiing, and general adventuring?
Susan: We had some great adventures this summer, and though many races were cancelled because of the ongoing restrictions, we had some great virtual challenges to keep us getting out and running. We picked up disc golf earlier this year and have been hitting up lots of courses around Calgary and the places we travel too. We also recently bought a tandem bike and have been perfecting our communication skills, haha!
Ian: Yeah, and nothing really changes in the winter for us. We do a lot of the same stuff, just with more layers on! We continue running as much as we can, and shake the dust off our cross country skis!
FBC: Sounds like a wicked year you’ve both had! So if you had to paint me a picture of a perfect day, summer or winter, what would it look like?
Ian: My perfect day would be getting up early and heading up some trail to get a good vantage point for a sunrise. After heading down, we would make our way to the closest disc golf course and play a round or two, then head to town to one of our local vegetarian restaurants for a bite to eat – followed by a brewery tour with some buds!
Susan: A warm summer blue bird day. Starting the day at an insanely early time so you can hit the summit for sunrise and a trail coffee. Touring around in the alpine for a few kilometres before starting the descent back to the trailhead, then hitting up the lake for an early afternoon SUP sesh with the pups and some delicious snacks and brews!
FBC: Sounds incredible! Before you head off, any words of wisdom you’d like to share with everyone?
Ian: I would say just live your life, whether you want to run a 100 miler or want to get out on your first hike, just get after it…. People are generally way more capable of doing big things than they give themselves credit for!
Susan: Challenge yourself to take on a new thing every year!
Well folks, doesn’t that just make you want to lace up those shoes and run up a mountain? Big shout out to Ian + Susan for taking the time to share their passions, stories, and time with us!