Older and Wiser: Why I Left L.A. and Moved Back to Ohio

Two Dogs, One Trailer, and A Thousand Miles of Unfinished Business

There are many ways to define success in running.  It takes an intentional and focused effort to engage with both the elite runner as well as the runner embarking on their first 5K.  We think few people have taken on this mission as well as Brandon Hough, founder of the Advanced Running Project.  We got together with him earlier this month to learn more about his goals, what drives him, and what makes him happy.  Check out his story below and look for information about his 2019 Miami Valley Race Series at www.advancedrunning.com.

 What is the Advanced Running Project and why did you start it?

The Advanced Running Project’s mission is to create healthier communities and lifestyles by going the extra mile.  It was born out of a passion that stemmed from my personal love of running and how much the sport has impacted my life.

In 2012 I was given the opportunity to work the finish line of the Flying Pig Marathon and I saw firsthand how many incredible stories there were as each runner came across the finish line.  I realized that everyone’s finish line was filled with unique hurdles, obstacles, and amazing moments.

Sharing that experience with the world—getting more people to run and seeing more people crossing the finish—that became my way of impacting the world in a positive way.

Fast forward six years—I’ve witnessed hundreds of thousands of finishers at races I’ve helped manage and I created the Advanced Running Project to bring more finish lines to the people of Dayton.  We want to expand our footprint in the community in a positive way and we’re excited about our upcoming events in 2019.

Talk about your transition from Air Force officer to Race Director.  What did you do to make this happen?

I don’t think there’s a conventional path into race directing and mine was no exception.  I’d always loved running and realized pretty early on in my Air Force career that I wanted to work in the running industry, although in what regard I was unsure.  As an officer it’s recommended that you get your master’s degree at some point so I enrolled at Xavier University in their Sports Administration program.  One of my instructors introduced me to the Race Director of the Flying Pig Marathon who allowed me to intern at their event, which led to an internship with the Columbus Marathon, and then with Ironman Florida.

When my commitment to the Air Force was over, I opted to separate and moved to Los Angeles to work for one of the best event management companies in the country.  Out there I managed the operations for events such as the Star Wars Half Marathon, Avengers Half Marathon, Disneyland Half Marathon, Anaheim Angels 5K, Catalina Island Marathon, 2015 Special Olympics World Games, and the Avalon 50 Miler.

When I moved back to Dayton in 2017 to be closer to my wife, I had already started putting the pieces together to start the Advanced Running Project.  On January 1st, 2018, I launched the company and started the Miami Valley Race Series which was the next step for me in becoming a Race Director.  This race series allowed me to bring together all the things I loved from hundreds of races I’ve competed in or managed.  I received a great response from many runners and from the communities of southwest Ohio that supported our events this past year.

How do you balance having a full-time job and running a business with training as an athlete?

In life we always manage to make time for the things that we love.  I am extremely fortunate that both my full time job and my business revolve around running.  I am always eager to dive into the work and do what needs to be done to pull off both jobs.  As for training—running is of the utmost importance to me not only for my physical health but also for my emotional and mental well being.

With that in mind, I always prioritize my run (or runs) in my daily schedule to make sure they are never missed.  Some times that means running very early in the morning, running at the hottest part of the day, or hitting the track at 10PM, but it means that no matter what happens each day I’m going to get my run in.  You don’t need to be a runner to work in the running industry, but I find that running competitively helps me relate to the people who participate in my events.  I want to offer them quality service and a great experience at my events because I know I want the same things when I am out there competing.

What is the most important tip you have for runners looking to be successful in their race goals for 2019?

Consistency.  There is nothing more important to achieving your race goals than being consistent in your training.  To be consistent means you have to be willing to train in tough weather; it means listening to your body and taking time off to recover (one day of recovery is far better than one week of being injured); it means making tough decisions to go to bed early and perhaps skip a party or night out, etc.  But when you train consistently throughout the year you will find yourself in a position to succeed and you will toe the line at your “A” race knowing that a personal record or achieving your goal is within reach—all you have to do is get to the finish.

What do you enjoy most about running?

Running to me has always been so freeing.  I spent many years trying to figure out why I run and it came to me one day—I realized that when I’m running, everything is right.  The stressors of life become smaller and easier to manage when I’m running.  It allows me a moment of respite in a world that is very fast paced.  Put succinctly, what I enjoy most about running is that it brings me a happiness that fills me to my core—and that happiness I get from my running is what I aim to share with every person in the world.


Photo of Brandon after cruising a 1:12 half marathon in November 2018.  You’ll find Brandon, his wife Ashley, and their two dogs out hiking the trails and preparing for an even bigger 2019.  We thank Brandon for sharing his story with us.

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