Milly Clark produced a marathon debut that could just go down as the best ever by an Australian.
Clark clocked in at 2:29.07 finishing 3rd in the Amsterdam Marathon yesterday. Thus achieving the qualifier for Rio in outstanding fashion.
We’re looking forward to Milly’s next RT Journal, but for now it’s time to interview this terrific Australian athlete.
RT Interview with Milly Jane Clark
With all the emotions and deserving praise coming in, is it hard to process what you’ve achieved?
It been almost 48 hours since I crossed the finish line and I am still not sure what to do with myself! It has been so awesome to get so many messages from my friends and family across the world – it makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable and special. I feel as though so much has happened in such a short time, its super weird but also super cool.
Runner’s Tribe was about to publish a book on the top ten male and female Australian marathoners ever. We now have one final Chapter to do, yours. You now sit as 8th all time for the Women’s marathon in Australia. How does this feel?
A few years ago, I went to Melbourne to watch my Mum run the full marathon down there and I remember thinking as I chased her around the course that I would NEVER do a marathon – these people are mental! And yet here we are – its just really funny how things work out. I feel a lot of emotions at the moment. I feel proud that I was able to successfully run 42.2km without stopping! I feel relieved that I had an enjoyable first real race experience and it hasn’t left me more fearful of the event than when I first lined up. I also feel incredibly blessed and thankful that I had so many amazing people around me to share the whole journey with. From start to finish – from the day I woke up and decided with my coach that the marathon was our ultimate goal at the end of the year till yesterday. Everything I did for the past 9 months I had that race on my mind. I even made my computer background a picture of Amsterdam to remind me that everything I did had a purpose and a reason. It has been so much fun!
What was your race goal and target time?
Without meaning to sound as though I am completely into myself – I guess deep down I knew I was capable of the 2:42 standard, as are a lot of our Aussie distance runners at the moment. What I wanted to do, was go as close to 2:32 as possible based off my half marathon PB and 10km time. Before I went to Amsterdam I did the Blackmores Half Marathon in Sydney in around 76 minutes and I thought I could do that twice if I really dug deep. I thought I was capable of 2:32 if I had a cracker of a run – so to come away with a 2:29 – I just honestly do not quite have the words just yet!
Can you talk us through the key stages of the race for you?
I wanted to focus on the start of the race, and get myself set up into a rhythm that was “comfortably hard”. Something I do in training all the time, and make sure I didn’t get carried away at the start. I had nightmares about reaching 36km and slowly fading away! I guess for the first 15k I just kept telling myself “slow and steady wins the race”. From 26-34km was a deep dark place. By that time everyone was so spread out and I was totally on my own. It was so tough – and the course took us through some pretty dead industrial areas with only a few spectators here and there. This was the toughest part of the race for me as I was scared I would drop back and lose a lot of time. I guess I just tried to remind myself I do most of my long runs and tempo sessions alone for a reason – and this was it. I got to 35km and just wanted to finish strong, it already hurt so much, I guess it didn’t really matter if I stayed the same pace or pushed harder!
On all the long runs and tough session you’ve been doing in the lead up to this race, did you ever imagine yourself finishing top 3 in sub 2:30?
I joked about going sub 2:30 with people! Key word JOKED. I envisioned it happening one day if I was really lucky, but to come away with that so quickly is surreal. I woke up this morning and prayed yesterday wasn’t a dream!
What were the emotions like coming into the finish line?
I saw a clock with 7km to go reading 2:03.50, so I did some quick maths and got a bit of a rush when I realised all I needed to do was run like 26 mins for 7km to make 2:30. When I ran back into the stadium with the crowd and the cheers and music and came around the home straight to see 2:29 tick over, I just cried! I felt (and still feel) so emotional because it took so much energy and focus over the past 9 months – a lot of people and myself sacrificed so much for that to happen so I was just so overwhelmed it paid off.
Did you have a post race celebration/meal of some sort?
Hmmm, I don’t really have a go-to post race meal! I felt so sick after yesterday I had to wait until dinnertime until I felt as though I could handle food. So last night it was a big plate of steamed dumplings with lamb and chicken. I also love a good ginger beer or cider.
Thanks Milly you’re awesome.