Phil Birnie

Meet the mastermind behind the Leaderboard—command central for the RUNColumbus Race Series. Phil is part owner of Escape Hatch and has 10+ years of experience developing and extending open-source web applications from simple tools to complex eCommerce integrations. He’s a fearless technologist by day and an avid runner by night.

Phil and his wife Julie have three children and a Boston Terrier named Mirabelle.

Why did you start running? I started running at Worthingway Middle School because my parents thought it would be a good idea for me.  To be honest, I was not a great runner – or at least, not very competitive.  Like any good sibling rivalry, it wasn’t until my sister (pictured) started running. She was a great and competitive runner all the way through college. As I watched her, I started getting more interested.  Now we frequently run races together, which is always fun. Our most recent run was the Ragnar Trail Relay in Kentucky this spring.

Favorite thing about running? I run because I love to be outdoors and it is a de-stressor.  I truly enjoy experiencing all seasons (though fall and winter are my favorites). Running is a time that I can go breathe fresh air, get away from my desk and churn through any problems that I may be having. 

Favorite race(s) in Central Ohio? My favorite is probably the Cap City Half Marathon in the spring;   Mr. Smith was my English Teacher so the Gary Smith Worthington Classic is also special to me. 

 What advice would you give to someone just getting started? Run in lots of new places, varying distances, and on different terrain to see what you like and to keep yourself motivated.  It wasn’t until the past few years that I started getting into trail running and it is a blast! I only wish I had discovered it sooner. 

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