(Introduction by Annie Rutledge)
I first meet Jackie Clark as part of the 2014 Tahoe Trail Babes team for the Reno Tahoe Odyssey. Jackie was fast, she was competitive, she had great hair, but most of all she was genuine. During the event, she and her husband Bernie opened their rad A-frame home to our van of girls to spend the night. Her home, just like her, is eclectic, warm, and earthy. She’s a great cook, and she and Bernie served all of us an awesome pasta dinner. Since then Jackie has become my favorite trail running partner and an even better friend.
Jackie loves to run, to be on the trail, and to be in great company (in my opinion runners make the best company). On most of her days off, she is either running in the mountains or volunteering at races. She plans her travels to run in some pretty amazing places; most recently, the CCC in the Alps. She’s paced east coast runners in the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 several times as well as many local runners in races near and far.
Jackie has three wonderful children who support her running and attend most of her races. It was a family affair when they traveled to Europe for CCC last summer. When Jackie ran her 2nd Western States 100, she ran and fund-raised for CURE — Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy. This program helps raise epilepsy awareness and provide funding for medical advances for epilepsy, a disease that hits close to home for the Clark family.
Jackie works long hours as an Interventional Radiology technician; mostly while wearing a lead apron. I always tell her it is great strength training!
Jackie is as tough as nails even though she will deny it if you ask her. She is one of those individuals that crosses your path and makes your world a better place; especially if she runs down it with you.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I was born in New Jersey and moved to California when I was 17. I moved to Tahoe for a summer in 1980 and never left.
When did you begin running and/or long-distance running, if that applies? Why?
I began running in my late 20’s. At first I would just run a few miles, I wanted to challenge myself so I signed up for a marathon in my 30’s and through the years kept trying to get faster and faster. The problem was the only time I ran roads was when I did a marathon, I trained totally on trails. That’s when I decided to start running ultras, my first one was Way too Cool 50k, which was probably around 2009. It was then that I realized that I loved racing on trails!
Do you race? Does racing motivate you? If not racing, what motivates you?
I found out that I am a very goal-oriented person, I need races to motivate me and to keep it interesting. I probably race 5 or 6 times a year. I love the feeling you have running with a group of people during a race, we all have one common goal and that’s to finish and enjoy the ride! I have learned so much talking to people during races, it has helped me tremendously.
Do you have any dream races (either hoping to qualify for or get selected for)?
I would love to go back to Europe and do UTMB, last summer I did CCC which is called the UTMB’s little sister. Not sure if that dream will ever come true though.
Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy? Favorite post-run meal or beverage?
I like to eat turkey, cheese and bacon sandwiches, you get your protein, salt and carbs all in one. After a long run, I try to eat something bland so it doesn’t upset my stomach.
Do you have a favorite recipe to share?
Sweet Potato Bars
1 ¼ C unsweetened shredded coconut
2 c old fashioned oats
½ c sugar
½ t baking powder
½ c semisweet chocolate chips
¼ c cornstarch
1 ⅓ c sweet potato (white ones, not orange )
¼ c melted butter
2 t cinnamon
Combine first six ingredients in food processor and grine about a minute until finely ground. In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch, and puree with butter, vanilla and cinnamon. Add oat mixture to sweet potato mixture (add milk if the batter is difficult to mix) Place batter into greased 8×8 pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
What was your favorite running experience this past year?
I would have to say running CCC. I’d never raced in a foreign country before. The Alps are definitely more challenging then the Sierras, it was a really technical course, it also rains for 2/3rd of it which made it like a slippery slide going down hill. The aid stations were a blast, there were so many people cheering for you. The food was really interesting, lots of meat and cheese which is something that I’m not use to.
What was your most challenging/ character-building experience this past year?
I fell off a scooter in Italy after I ran CCC in September and have been dealing with my injuries since then. I sprained my ankle and tore my ACL. I finally had ACL surgery in January and since then I have had 4 surgeries because my graft got infected. They took the graft out last week so now I am without an ACL. It has been really challenging not running for six months but I feel this experience has made me realize how fortunate I am to have the love and support of my family and friends. This experience has made me thankful in so many ways, you really learn what is important in life in times like these.
Do you have any running mantras to share?
I was pacing my friend Annie Rutledge at TRT in 2015, we were coming down into Diamond Peak on her second lap. She kept telling me over and over that “I feel good, I feel great.” That has become my new mantra, if you are feeling bad and you repeat it enough, you truly start to believe it!
What are your upcoming racing/adventure plans?
I was entered into Lake Sonoma and Miwok 100k but unfortunately I have to learn how I walk again before I run.
What do you do for a living? Is it hard to fit in time for training?
I work at the VA in Reno as an Interventional Radiology Tech. It is hard to find time for training when you work full time and are on call for two weeks out of the month. Finding time for those long runs are challenging, you have to get very creative when you are at the peak of your training.
What led you to join the DPMR?
I joined DPMR last summer and did some training runs with a group of people training for Castle Peak. I usually run with the Silver State Striders because I work in Reno and it’s great to join up with them on Tuesdays and Thursday after work, it keeps me motivated to have someone to run with.
What has been your favorite DPMR experience so far?
I am not too familiar with the trails out in Truckee so it was great to discover new places to go
Favorite local trail?
I love running Meeks Bay up and over Phipps Pass to TRT and out Sugar Pine State Park and back to my house. There is lots of climbing, lots of miles of fast runnable stuff and lots of downhill. The variety is awesome.
What other outdoor or indoor interests do you have?
I love to hike, backpack and skate ski. Anything that gets me out in the back country is always a great thing.
Any advice for someone training for their first 100 miler?
I have ran Western States twice now, it was an incredible experience. Prior to my first 100, I watched so many movies, they make it look so great! Wish I would have watched “Finding Traction” before my race. The lows can be incredibly low, but you have to realize that you will eventually dig yourself out and find the strength that you didn’t know you had.