25th Anniversary Challenge Trail Runner Profile: Jess Clarke

As the non-profit American Trail Running Association approaches a quarter century of service, we are interviewing trail runners from around the United States like Jess Clarke who are participating in our 25th Anniversary Challenge. Through these profiles we’ll introduce you to lesser known every day athletes who are walking, hiking, or trail running their way to distance milestones and sharing their experiences with the community on social media.

We hope these interviews will inspire you to get out on the trails while getting to know trail runners from different parts of the country. If you haven’t already joined our 25th Anniversary Challenge, you can learn more about it and sign-up on our website.

Let’s get to know Jess Clarke

Hometown: Monroe Township, NJ
Age: 41
25th Anniversary Challenge region: Northeast
Years running trails: 2
Average miles per week on trails: 10
Favorite race distance: 15K
Longest trail race completed: 13.1 miles

[American Trail Running Association] How did you get into trail running?
[Jess Clarke] I ran hurdles in high school and then cross country my senior year. Trails are a natural combination of the two. Even though I took many years “off” from running, I’m glad to get out there and see so many different trails now.

[ATRA] What motivates you to get out and run on trails?
[Clarke] Trail running is like solving a puzzle to me— piecing together where your next step is going to fall – within split seconds. It is as much of a mental challenge, as a physical one!

[ATRA] What has your experience been running on trails versus running on roads?
[Clarke] Trail running allows me to better connect to myself and allows my thoughts to flow.

[ATRA] What do you like best about being part of the trail running community?
[Clarke] There is always someone new to meet!

[ATRA] What advice would you give to someone trying trail running for the first time?
[Clarke]Pick up your feet, and don’t be afraid to go fast!

[ATRA] How did you learn about our 25th Anniversary Challenge?
[Clarke] I saw it posted on Twitter.

[ATRA] What do you enjoy most about our 25th Anniversary Challenge?
[Clarke] I get to learn about others’ journeys and expand my own.

[ATRA] How our 25th Anniversary Challenge has motivated you?
[Clarke] I am continuing to become a better trail runner.

Clarke’s favorite post-run or post-race indulgence: Ice cream!
Clarke’s favorite trail running shoe: Altra Superior
Clarke’s favorite time of day to run trails: Afternoon

Jess Clarke’s pick one quiz results:

  • She prefers Single Track to Wide Path
  • She prefers Uphill over Downhill
  • She prefers Planks over Push Ups
  • She prefers Foam Rolling over Massage
  • She prefers Speed Work over Long Run: Speed

If you enjoyed this interview with Jess Clarke, there’s more! Our earlier challenge profiles include interviews with Diane Groff, Jeanette Reynolds, Amy Machael, Anastasia Christman, George Rehmet, Long Island’s Tim McNamara, San Antonio, Texas trail runner Kimberly Aubuchon, Sandra Galindo and Brooklyn’s Zobel Belisario.