#7 Ian Morgan – How Heart Surgery Taught Him To Follow His Heart

The Pursuit of Enhancement Podcast Episode 7

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Welcome to Episode 7 of  The Pursuit of Enhancement Podcast.

My name is Peter Ledwidge and I am your host.

Each week I sit down to talk in-depth with guests that push the boundaries of conventional living, driven by the singular pursuit of being on an unrelenting quest to continually expand the horizons of their body, mind and spirit.

The aim is to learn more about them and from them; their story, the work they are doing, the highs, the lows, the triumphs, the heartaches and everything in between.

The hope is that these conversations might spark something within you that gives you cause for self-reflection, inspires you to embark on your own journey of self-discovery or gives you the courage to take a chance and go after your goals.

Ian Morgan

This week I am delighted to be joined by ultrarunning instagram star, Ian Morgan.

Ian is a native of christchurch, New Zealand, now living in Santiago, Chile, and an ultra runner who started running again in his 40s

Over Weight to Athlete

As that point he was around 102kgs, a meat eating, beer. drinking, anti exercising business owner. He could barely walk up a flight of stairs without stopping to catch his breath!! On top of that, genetic heart disease and high blood pressure almost guaranteed he was heading for a self inflicted early grave.

Now, at the age of 48, he is a plant based, 74kg , lean, muscular, ultra running, Boston marathon qualified, world travelling, crazy kiwi, spending his days running with the woman of his dreams in the hills of Chile.

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Time To Take His Life Back

Seeing the writing on the gravestone Ian realised it was time to take his life back. He started running in 2015 to relieve earthquake stress and lose some weight. At first he could barely run around the block but he stuck with it.

Ian soon set himself the challenge of running the Queenstown marathon in 2015. During the race he got a pain in his shoulder and started struggling to breathe. He collapsed and was taken to the local hospital. The doctors discovered heart disease and immediately performed emergency surgery to widen his arteries.

But Ian was not be deterred. This event turned out to be a great awakening. He used it as a catalyst to turn his life around. Coming face to face with his own mortality, The biggest secret to his  transformation has been accepting the plain and simple truth that one day he will die. This one undeniable fact we all share as humans, has allowed him to truly live life and be grateful for what he has right now in this present moment.

Post Surgery

Post surgery Ian continued to run to aid his recovery. As we all do He’d take his phone along and began taking photos of his native Wellington, New Zealand and the wonderful views. His daughter prompted him to post photos on Instagram. He never expected to become a celebrity on the global running circuit, but that’s what has happened. Ever since his heart issues, he just seized life and gone with his heart.

As his fanbase grew this led to sponsorship from the likes of Hoka and other running brands and he now has fans all over the world.

His running quickly improved as the weight came off and he added strength training to his regime. In 2016 he qualified for the Boston Marathon, one of the most prestigious and well regarded marathons in the world, he also faced his demons by completing the Queenstown marathon.

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Love Story

As an instagram star Ian now spends much time interacting with his 30000+ fans answering questions on running, and training, hearing about their success, and stories of how he has inspired them but one conversation with a fan quickly grew into something more.

Ian and his now partner Fran Gonzales began messaging about an injury she had. They chatted for weeks about sport, kids and life,  and they became friends. As their friendship grew, they began to share they dreams and goals, and found they had many things in common, especially their love of adventure. One day in 2016 Fran  said she was going to Italy for a holiday and asked, ‘why don’t you come’, and so he followed his heart and just said yes.

This is a beautiful story of two people, both from different countries, different cultures, and speaking different languages, but with a shared passion for running, travelling, and living life.

Fran and Ian now reside in Santiago, Chile. They have both finished up their then jobs, minimised and simplified their lives, and embarked on a project to travel and run in many of the worlds biggest ultra races as well as inspire others to do what you’re passionate about, dream big, work hard, follow your heart, never, ever give up!

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This Week’s Episode

During the episode we talk about;

  • Getting back into running in his 40s after being hit like a bolt from the blue to get up and do more with his life
  • His experience at the faithful queenstown marathon collapse
  • His rise on instagram, getting picked up by sponsors
  • The story of getting to know Fran, meeting for the first time and where their relationship has gone from there
  • Plans to travel the world and run races
  • Being yourself, having fun and not taking yourself too seriously
  • Darker moments in his life, self-reflection, the time spent in the hospital bed, the internal conversations he had, how we worked through it to put his life on a better trajectory
  • Following your heart, minimising in order to have the time to do what you want with life not just rather stuff that ends up owning you
  • The serenity of the trails, what running means to him beyond all the social media etc, etc just the simplicity of running, the amazing places around the world where he has run
  • His decision to go plant based, the research and his reasons for choosing that lifestyle as the optimal diet for him


In general the over arching theme is following your heart and doing what you feel is right and most important to you despite what others think.

Connect with Ian

Instagram @ian.morgan

Via his website https://www.runtravellove.com/ 

Facebook 

Resources mentioned

Sage Canaday

Lucy Bartholomew

What The Health

End of Episode 7

So that’s it for episode 7 I hope you got something out of it.

As ever let me know in the comments your thoughts and take aways.

I am so so grateful to everyone that tuned in today. There and so many things you could be doing with your time so that fact that you choose to give it to me is such an honour. Thank you.

Be sure to follow or subscribe to your favourite source so you can keep up to date with future episodes, share it with your friends in person or on social media.

If you’d like to support the show you can do so on PATREON.

I’m Peter Ledwidge, this is the Pursuit of Enhancement podcast and I will catch you next week for episode 8.

In the mean time remember to

Be kind

Work hard

Stay humble

And smile often.

If you want to connect with me further you can find me on twitter, facebook and instagram via the icon links below.

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Listen to Episode 6

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