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Keep Moving Forward : Brian Wilford Leads by Example

An ultrarunner, Brian Wilford continues to find a way to keep moving forward in life
Brian Wilford
Year started: 1999
Favorite gear:

Leki Poles

In 1987, Brian Wilford joined the fire department.  In 1990, Brian became a medic, working as a flight medic in Tucson on a helicopter. Brian continued taking on various roles in the fire department, eventually testing for and becoming Battalion Chief in 2009. Wilford first joined the department thinking the 10 days on/20 days off schedule would give him ample free time for hiking and other outdoor pursuits. Brian’s career choice and his desire to keep moving forward would set him on a unique journey to ultra endurance. 

Pushing Physical Limits

Brian found his passion for pushing physical limits while on the job. He ran for 30 minutes during a shift, a first for him. In 1999 he registered for his first marathon in Tucson. Prior to registering for this race, Wilford’s experience as a runner in school never had him running over 3 miles. He finished the brutal 26.2 miles but hit “the wall” around mile 20. It took Brian a month to recover, but the experience lit a fire in him.

100-Mile Trail Races

Over the next 15+ years Brian continued running on and off, completing more half marathons and marathons. Hearing about 100-mile trail races completed by ultra runners, Brian wondered if he could do the same. In 2015 he finished his first 100 miler at Javelina, surprising himself by surviving the punishing distance. Although his stomach turned, Brian completed the race. He returned the following year to do it again. 

Part of Their Emotional Journey 

In 2014, Brian heard about the Tahoe 200, an inaugural 200-mile event put on by Candice Burt. Seeing others run 200-milers inspired him to start volunteering at those races after retiring from 2017 from the fire service. For 4-5 days he fixed runner’s feet, knees and ankles for hundreds of miles, feeling part of their emotional journey. Runners credited Brian with saving their race during low points. Brian would become the Head Medic of Destination Trails

In his Element 

After the 2019 Moab 240-mile endurance run, Brian eventually took on more responsibility at Candice Burt’s races. He coordinated hundreds of volunteers, handled permitting, scheduling, and supported runner safety. Leveraging his Battalion Chief skills commanding major fire scenes and dozens of firefighters, Brian capably managed any issues that arose. He found himself in his element with tasks that paralleled his career. 

No Signs of Slowing Down 

Now 60, Brian shows no signs of slowing down. He continues to feed his passion for supporting others to test their limits. In 2023, Brian ran the farthest he has ever gone, finishing the Sedona 125. 30+ years since that first 30-minute run kicked off his endurance pursuits, his own inner drive to keep moving forward remains strong. Wilford continues to keep moving forward, leading by example for others along his path.