ABOUT JEN CLARK
April 24, 1976
B.S., Chemical Engineering, Bucknell University, 1998
J.D., Widener University School of Law, 2005
First Running Race:
1996, Lambda Chi Alpha 5k (rowing coach made us run it)
1999, Columbus Marathon
2009, New Jersey State Olympic Triathlon
I’ve always loved the pursuit of excellence in sport. Growing up, one of my favorite things was watching Olympic figure skaters on TV and pretending I was Katarina Witt, attempting axels on my family room floor. When I was nine, I went to a Girl Scout day camp at a farm where I started horseback riding and fell in love with working with ponies and horses there. I spent about 10 years sharpening my horsemanship skills and competing in hunter competitions. The summer before college, I watched the famous Dad Vail rowing regatta in my home city of Philadelphia and immediately decided I wanted to try rowing, seeing as how it would be difficult to continue riding in college.
Transitioning to rowing was no easy endeavor. The first few times I went out running for conditioning were extremely difficult. These runs were just a couple miles long and they served up some humble pie to the fact that I was not a lick in shape. It was sheer determination that got me through crew tryouts as a freshman at Bucknell University and, by a stroke of pure luck, I made the team! In the following years, I rowed in Bucknell’s varsity 8- and 4-woman boats. It was during the longer training runs for rowing that I started enjoying distance running and continued to run after college, finishing the Columbus and Philadelphia Marathons not long after.
I first became exposed to triathlon in 2001, seeing the Ironman World Championships covered on TV and thought NO WAY – a 2.4 mile swim? then 112 miles on a bike?? and FINALLY A MARATHON??? I couldn’t believe people finished this event, but at the same time, a small thought crept into my head about someday training for and attempting an Ironman. I made this a reality in 2010 at Ironman Florida, where I finished 5th in my age group, just outside of qualifying for the Ironman World Championships in Kona. I wondered, if I devoted more time to training and added more structure, if I had a shot at competing in Kona. Since then, I’ve been slowly chipping away at my goals, including racing in Kona. This nearly decade long journey in multi-sport has afforded me plenty of mental ups and downs, travel to wonderful places, and lasting friendships. I’ve been fortunate to work with several great coaches over the years and learn from them as well as understand myself much more than I ever would have had I not started this journey.
I attribute a large part of my success in triathlon to my vegan lifestyle. I’ve been vegan since 2007 and never regret a day that I committed to it. Being vegan means understanding nutrition, eating the proper foods, learning what fuels your body, and giving yourself the best chance at good health in a world of horrible food choices. Most importantly, when I commit to being vegan, I’m saying ‘no’ to animal suffering three times (or more) a day. Please check out the “Vegan!” section of my site for more information about veganism and why you should go vegan as well.