We are starting off 2018 with a gunshot start, and this comes in the form of Andy Clark. Our January DPMR Member Highlight, is an ultra-volunteer, and played a critical role at this past years Castle Peak 100k. The giving went both ways though, as Andy was so inspired helping out at Castle Peak, that he will be toeing the line in 2018! Our friend from New Zealand is quite the competitor too, finishing his first 50 miler in under 9 hour, well past his 10 hour goal, and placing 3rd overall on the podium. It is flu season, but Andy caught his bug a few years ago during his first trail half-marathon after placing 2nd, naturally… Andy is no stranger to running through the night either, he finds himself on his feet for a 12 hour night shift at a local hospital.
Andy has big plans for 2018, and even bigger for his running career. I for one, will be Strava stalking him, and would put my money on future podiums in the upcoming year. Please help me welcome Andy Clark to our DPMR Family, and thank him for everything he did to make our 2017 Castle Peak race such a success.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I’m from Wanaka, New Zealand and moved to Colorado in 2009 then to Truckee in 2012.
When did you begin running and/or long-distance running, if that applies? Why?
I have run short distances sporadically for fitness since I was around twenty. I started running more consistently around four years ago after adopting a dog with to much energy. Around that time my wife and I entered our first half marathon which was a trail run in Napa and I really surprised myself by placing second. I have had the running bug since then. I have the tendency to see how far I can push things and ran a few marathons. I slowly learned of the world of long-distance running through inspiring stories from friends, books, google and my already present love of exploring mountains.
Do you race? Does racing motivate you? if not racing, what motivates you?
After that first half marahthon I ran a few more half’s, a couple marathons in 2016 and qualified for Boston which I ran this April. After Boston I decided running road races was really not what I enjoy about running. There were too many people running on the pavement, so I swore off road races and entered my first trail 50k and 50mile. Racing really motivates me, I was a competitive snowboarder in my teens and early 20’s, my dad was a rugby coach and marathon runner and my mother always was, and still in her retirement, enjoys many different athletic pursuits which she has always competed in for the extra push. I enjoy the additional motivation and drive that competition gives me. It inspires me to push myself more and dig deeper than I am capable of on a solo run.
Do you have any dream races (either hoping to qualify for or get selected for)?
My dream race right now is the Hardrock 100. Silverton, CO has always held a special place in my heart from my snowboarding and CO days. Those mountains are beautiful and I have loved climbing though them in winter and would love to bring my running and snowboard worlds together there. I have my sights on the UTMB, and the Kepler Challenge near my hometown in NZ.
Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy? Favorite post-run meal or beverage?
On trail: I try and consume 300 calories every hour. Favorites are Tailwind, and Tahoe Trail Bars. Post training run I have a protein smoothie. Going into any race I have my post run burger and beer picked out before the race as motivation. At the finish line I have Sprite and hot chicken broth.
What was your favorite running experience this past year?
The Headlands 50mi, my first time in the Marin headlands. It was surreal to run the first half socked in by sea mist, unable to see 20ft in front of me, and the next half with beautiful views of the city and hills.
What was the best race advice you’ve ever received
One of my earliest memories ever was of my mother telling me, “Just tell yourself you can do it.”, which I still do to this day, sometimes on repeat, whenever facing a challenge. My best ultra advice was to focus on the crest of the next hill, or the next tree, or the next aid station, instead of the end.
What was your most challenging/ character-building experience this past year?
I decided to change careers and go back to school. Forcing myself to be indoors, to sit, to study, has made me face many new mental challenges rather than the physical challenges I tend to draw myself to.
What race PR are you most proud of?
I ran my first 50mi, the Headlands 50mi in 8h24m which was a lot faster than my 10hr goal.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made during a race
Due to the amazing amount of snow we got last winter, I was unable to do much training for Boston in April. But I still tried to run it at my race pace from 6mo prior, which did not go well, and almost ended up in the medical tent at the finish line.
What are your upcoming racing/adventure plans?
Right now I’m signed up for the Canyons 100k and the Castle Peak 100k
What do you do for a living? Is it hard to fit in time for training?
I work night shift at a hospital, and now going to school. Working 12hr night shifts makes it challenging to get training in and get motivated sometimes. But maybe helps me prepare for the fatigue of long races?
What led you to join the DPMR?
I needed volunteer hours and signed up to help with the Castle Peak 100k. I really enjoyed the experience and it solidified my passion for the ultra running community. I met so many great people and it made me want to be more involved with the running community in my own backyard.
What has been your favorite DPMR experience so far?
Volunteering at the Castle Peak 100 and seeing the first runners, the last runners, and those that dropped. All of the behind the scenes organization that it takes to put on one of these races gave me a unique insight into all the effort behind what everyone puts into these races. It was very inspirational!
Favorite local trail?
Johnson canyon – Frog lake cliffs – Basin Peak – Castle Peak – Johnson canyon loop
What’s your typical weekly mileage these days
I’m coming off an IT band injury so sweet nothing right now, averaging about 25mi/week. Im feeing good and will start to ramp up in January.
What other outdoor or indoor interests do you have?
Winter: splitboarding, snowboarding, Summer: running, biking, surfing, hiking, lake time, general: eating
Any interesting facts about yourself you would like to share?
One of my favorite races has been the Hotshot Half Marathon at Bullards Bar in early April, it raises money for the wildland fire fighter foundation. I would encourage anyone to do this race as a fun early season run and to contribute to a good cause