Our newest member, Benjamin (Ben) Iles, calls Columbus, Ohio home but will soon be moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. He decided to join DPMR to get motivated to do more trail running/exploration in the mountains. Read on to learn what drew him to join DPMR and make sure to say “Hi!” when you see him and his dog Layla on the trails!
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I am originally from Green Bay, WI. (Go Packers!) I currently live in Columbus, OH but will be moving to Palo Alto in the middle of June to complete a one-year Pediatric Radiology Fellowship. (I’m like a really slow, unsponsored version of Chris Denucci).
When did you begin running and/or long-distance running?
I was the starting Center for my high school football team, but when I went to college I just ran to do something different and loved it. First marathon was Chicago in 2009. But then I went to medical school in East Tennessee and lived at the base of Cumberland Gap National Park. Fell in love with trail running. Running up Tri-State peak and/or “The Pinnacle” in the morning before class was addicting. Then I heard of this ultra stuff and did my first 50k and then 50 mile race in 2015. Haven’t looked back since.
Do you race? Does racing motivate you?
Initially, it was a big motivator but as I have traveled to scenic races, those experiences have had lasting memories. I do like to try and race something at least once per year but also try racing easy/part of vacation to interesting places.
I did run my first country race this past year! That was such a fun experience getting dusted by some high school kids.
Photo: Columbus Running Company
Do you have any dream races?
I would love to do Western States or UTMB. But my real dream is taking a year and just following the Ultra Trail World Tour or The Skyrunning Series. Running as many races as I can and eating all the croissants I can find.
Photo: At Mount Hood with Yassine Diboun (the nicest guy ever!)
Favorite on-trail food? Post-race food?
If I am running hard, liquid calories are best (Tailwind) or GU Chews. I really really don’t like flavored gels. Otherwise, all the Redd’s frozen burritos (the best!) I can stomach. After the run, give me a good IPA and a piece of pizza.
Favorite running experience this past year?
Being on vacation in Costa Rica and randomly signing up for a 10k race where I took 3rd. I’ve never won anything before but I didn’t know if I took 2nd or 3rd because I don’t speak any Spanish!
Photo: Some nice stranger with my iPhone
What are your upcoming racing/adventure plans?
CastlePeak 100k! And considering Santa Barbara 100 mile. But really just want to explore all the trails on the Peninsula and explore all the Tahoe trails as many weekends as I can!
What made you join DPMR and what is your favorite local trail?
Moving out West and exploring the mountains is something I have wanted to do for a long time… What better way than to join a club! Hopefully by the end of the year I will know all the local trails so I can choose my favorite.
What other indoor or outdoor interests do I have?
So many, which have all been stunted by my midwestern life. I want to get back into climbing (I used to climb a little in SLC) and would love to learn how to SkiMo or Alpine Ski in the winter. Indoors, read all the books and drink all the coffee.
Do you like to listen to music while you run?
I try not to listen to anything but on some easy days music is good. I’m into “Maggie Rodgers” and “The Tallest Man on Earth” at the moment. Can never go wrong with Fleetwood Mac.
Any interesting facts that you would like to share about yourself?
I have a 3 year old Siberian Husky named Layla.