Monday, 23 January 2017

On point with Sam Clark

This man has quite a skillset. He is a sturdy runner, an impressive cyclist, a fantastic swimmer, a steadfast kayaker and overall a pretty fine fella. Not only because of last years remarkable Coast-to-Coast victory people in the endurance world should know about him. He raised eyebrows in SwimRun and Triathlon racing and is very popular when it comes to Multisport and Adventure racing. In a few days he tries to defend his Coast-to-Coast title. But before that he took some time to rest and reply to several questions about what’s up and coming.

Runssel: February the 10th is approaching fast. You are planning to defend your title at the iconic Coast-to-Coast one-day competition. What did you learn at last years race and what does an athlete need to cross the New Brighton Beach finish line first?

Sam Clark: The one day event is known as "The longest day" and for good reason, the winning time is often over eleven hours. I have learned from previous races is to never stop pushing. “Coast” is a test of your mental endurance as well as your physical, and the winner will have a good balance of both.

Last year Sam had to wait 58 Minutes at the Coast-to-Coast finish line for second place finisher Bob McLachlan. He won the iconic race in a time of 11 hours, 37 minutes and 7 seconds. This year he tries to defend this well-earned trophy.

Runssel: The competition is ramping up and with highly decorated Australian triathlete Courtney Atkinson in the contest there will be added opposition. Who do you think will be your main contenders in this year’s race?

Sam Clark: The competition has stepped up over previous years and there are some seriously talented and experienced athletes racing in 2017. Braden Currie has gone from strength to strength in the past two years and Courtney Atkinson will be very quick over the run, as will Daniel Jones and Alex Hunt.

Runssel: Do you train on the Coast to Coast course often? If yes, how would a key workout look in preparation for the big day look like?

Sam Clark: I live in the North Island, so it can be a bit of a mission to get down South to spend time on course. I like to spend the 10 days before the race re-familiarizing with the course, and discovering the subtle course changes, which naturally occur from year to year.

It was the punishing 33 kilometre mountain run where Sam increased the gap to the rest of the field at the 2016 version of Coast to Coast.
Runssel: A long and challenging race like the Coast to Coast includes a lot of equipment organisation. What are your weapons of choice for the big day?

Sam Clark: My shoes on the day will be La Sportiva Helios, I'll ride my Merida Warp TT bike and paddle a Ruahine F1 kayak.

Runssel: Keith Murray’s 1994 course-record still stands with a time of 10 hours, 34 minutes and 37 seconds. When and how is that record going to fall?

Sam Clark: The record time was set over a slightly different course, Richard Ussher came very close a few years ago but it will take a very quick athlete and perfect conditions for the course record to fall.

Runssel: Last year you based yourself in Sweden for the European summer season. How did this come about and will you go back there again this year? 

Sam Clark: For the past two years I have been racing as part of the Thule Adventure team, which gave me the opportunity to base myself in Sweden and experience some European style racing, I plan on returning to Europe this year too.

Once you live in Sweden there is no way around SwimRun dashing. Not only because of his exceptional clothing style Sam left quite an impression to the local endurance scene.
Runssel: Do you already have a race schedule set up for the rest of the 2017 season?

Sam Clark: The early part of this year is already full up with Coast to Coast, Ironman New Zealand and then some team racing in China. I am currently seeking out some long distance triathlons to aim for later in the year.

Together with Kristin Larsson Sam led the early stages of last years Rockman SwimRun. Nevertheless the mixed team came in as the second crew overall - Remarkable!


Runssel: You race all sorts of endurance races. From road, off-road triathlons to multiday events, what does motivate you and why don’t you specify on one single event?

Sam Clark: Being a Multisporter opens up a lot of opportunities to race, travel and have a broad range of experiences. I have thought about specializing, but I enjoy the variety that competing in multiple disciplines offers.

Runssel: What record do you listen to at the moment?

Sam Clark: I listen to an eclectic range of music; lately it has been a lot of Rolling Stones, Ice Cube and Metallica.

Sam is sponsored by Suzuki New Zealand, Merida Bikes, Thule Adventure Team, Skybright Natural Health and Foot Traffic Coaching

Make sure to follow Sam via Facebook and Instagram

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