Jan. 18, 2013
For immediate release

Auburn runner set national marks for 100-mile and 24-hour events

(Fourth in a series highlighting the eight members of the Sacramento Running Association’s inaugural Hall of Fame class. Today: Rae Clark).

Rae Clark did it all, winning races and setting records on the road, trail and track.

So he chuckles in embracing a label given him for his ability to succeed in so many running venues: Renaissance Man.

“Whoever coined that one, I thought that was kind of funny,” Clark said. “Road, track and trail, I do them all.”

He’s done them well enough to earn a spot in the Sacramento Running Association’s Hall of Fame. Clark, who lives in Auburn and works as a special education teacher in Newcastle, will be inducted during a dinner on Jan. 26 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.

Other members of the inaugural class are Eileen Claugus, Chris Iwahashi, Helen Klein, Billy Mills, Paul Reese, Dennis Rinde and Linda Somers.

Clark, 60, cherishes his induction into the American Ultrarunning Hall of Fame in 2011. But he points out joining the SRA’s Hall of Fame feels even better.

“This one means more,” he said. “This is where I live.”

Clark started running after moving to the San Jose area in his 20s. He made the most of the opportunity to train with the likes of Rich McCandless, the 1988 California International Marathon winner, and Nancy Ditz, the 1985 CIM winner who finished 17th in the 1988 Olympic Marathon. That training base helped launch a career that includes several records and a handful of ‘perfect days.’

He set the course record for the 72-mile race around Lake Tahoe with a 9-hour, 6-minute and 14 effort in 1982. Clark was also one of the regular frontrunners in the early days of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run with seven top-10 finishes, including a third-place effort in 1984 and a fourth-place performance in 1983.

Clark ran a 2:28:53 marathon 1989 in Las Vegas before delivering a pair of memorable, record-setting performances that cemented his status as an ultra running legend.

He won the 1989 U.S. 100-Mile Road Championship in New York City by more than an hour, finishing in a national record 12:12:19. He followed that up by setting another American mark in the 1990 U.S. 24-Hour National Track Championship in Portland, Ore., covering 165.3 miles to win by a whopping 23 miles.

Clark looks back on four races – the Lake Tahoe victory, his marathon P.R. in Las Vegas and his ground-breaking triumphs in New York City and Portland – as magical days when everything clicked.

“It all came together mentally, physically, spiritually, whatever,” he said. “I kept pushing it knowing this is just one of those days. Those were the highlights.

“What speed I had, I could hold the speed for a long time.”

Clark considers himself fortunate to still be running and enjoying the sport.

“I’ve always loved the game, loved getting out there and enjoyed the hundreds of people I’ve met,” he said. “It’s just my life.”

Tickets for the Hall of Fame dinner are $50. Group and table of 10 reservations are welcome and can be made at www.runsra.org.

The dinner, which begins at 6 p.m. and includes a no-host cocktail hour, will also feature the presentation of Annual Achievement Awards to the Sacramento area’s top runners in track, road racing, cross country and ultra running.

High school honorees include Trent Brendel, boys cross country athlete; Maggie Bell, girls cross country athlete; Bob King, boys cross country coach; John DuCray, girls cross country coach; Edixon Puglisi, boys track athlete; Madeleine Ankhelyi, girls track athlete; and Donene Vukovich, girls track coach.

Brendan Gregg will receive the men’s college track athlete of the year, with Deborah Maier earning the women’s track athlete honor. Other college honorees include Trevor Halsted, men’s cross country athlete; Sarah Sumpter, women’s cross country athlete; Rick Anderson, men’s cross country coach; and Drew Wartenberg, women’s cross country and track coach.

Olympian Kim Conley, the women’s track athlete of the year, heads the open division. Other honorees include German Fernandez, men’s track athlete; Lindsay Tollefson, women’s cross country, road racing and marathon athlete; Kevin Pool, men’s cross country and road racing athlete; Tim Tollefson, men’s marathon athlete; Jacob Rydman, men’s ultra athlete; and Rory Bosio, women’s ultra athlete.

Masters honorees include Marcelo Lerda, men’s cross country athlete; Karen Jeffers, women’s cross country athlete; Chris Knorzer, men’s road racing and marathon athlete; Midori Sperandeo, women’s road racing athlete; Mary Coordt, women’s marathon athlete; Rich Hanna, men’s ultra athlete; and Jennifer Pfeifer, women’s ultra athlete.

Seniors honorees include Kevin Ostenberg, men’s cross country athlete; Sara Freitas, women’s cross country athlete; Iain Mickle, men’s road racing athlete; Janice Kesterson, women’s road racing athlete; Jacob Nur, men’s marathon athlete; Rena Lantz, women’s marathon athlete; Lee McKinley, men’s ultra athlete; and Karen Bonnett, women’s ultra athlete.

The SRA will also honor several super seniors: Adam Ferreira, men’s cross country athlete; Yvonne Nickel, women’s road racing athlete; Mike Ammon, men’s road racing athlete; Richard Powers, men’s marathon athlete; Nancy March, women’s marathon athlete; Larry Cawthon, men’s ultra athlete; and Barbara Ashe, women’s ultra athlete.

Men’s cross country athlete Robert Seldner, men’s road racing athlete Ronald Gross and women’s road racing athlete Rusty Barnett are the veterans honorees.

The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding ways to encourage people of all ages and abilities to run. The SRA is committed to developing new, quality running events that appeal to a broad variety of runners.

SRA events include the recently concluded California International Marathon, the Super Bowl Sunday 10k Run on Feb. 3, the Credit Union SACTOWN Ten-Mile Run on April 7 and the Lake Natoma Four Bridges Half Marathon on Oct. 27.

SRA beneficiaries include the American River Parkway, youth fitness programs, local running venues and aspiring young runners.