Monday, June 1, 2020

Interview with Marie Clark: "Finishing that Swim Made Me Feel So Strong and Powerful"

Start of Mile 7 @ Key Lido - April 2019

Name: Marie Clark
Sports: Marathon swimming, casual cyclist, and used to do triathlon and running
Age: 49
Occupation: IT Project Manager
Location: York, PA and grew up in south Florida
Connect with Marie on facebook or instagram!

How did you begin participation in sports?
I swam age group from 7 - 13, but stopped when I started high school due to social stigma (I was never a "small" girl) and lack of speed. Rediscovered sport as an adult in my early 30s when a friend encouraged me to walk a 5k with her during my weight loss journey. Walking led to running, then triathlon, and eventually what has become my true love, open water swimming.

What is you most vivid memory of your sports career?
There are many vivid memories, but finishing my first marathon swim is probably the most vivid. My arms and shoulder were sore, I was exhausted, the last (or next to last) swimmer, and yet finishing that swim made me feel so strong and powerful.

Swim to the Moon - August 2019

Who are the people who have most supported or influenced your athletic career and how have they influenced or supported you?

My best friend, Lynda Hasper, who dragged me on that first 5k, and then into triathlon (which I love) and is always happy for me. My fiancée, Joe Church, who constantly encourages me to reach for the next goal and puts up with me spending hours each week training.

Training Swim at Blue Marsh Lake

Why do you continue to participate in sports?
Community and health – the endurance sports community has become my family. My 4 best friends and my fiancée all came from my involvement in sports. My day-to-day social interactions are with others in the community, both near and far.

I also keep participating because obesity runs in my family, along with arthritis. Endurance sports help to keep my weight from exploding. I have discovered during the recent COVID-19 pandemic that swimming is critical to keeping my joints, muscles and tendons healthy. The weightless motion in swimming keeps me limber and pain free.

My endurance activities keep me in touch with nature. The lake at dawn, the ocean on a sunny day, the river at sunset. The water, sky, and sounds of nature soothe my soul and keep me sane.

Ocean to Bay 50 Mile Ride - April 2018
What are three words you’d use to describe your athletic body?
Strong, curvy, flexible

What are your sports goals and/or what do you foresee happening with your sporting career in the future?
Continue open water swimming. I'm due to have knee replacement surgery, so it will take me a while to get back to walking and cycling, but as soon as I can get in and out of the pool, I plan to be back in the water.

Is there anything else you’d like to say that isn’t covered above?
Anyone can be an athlete – it just takes consistent motion. Too many people say they are "too old," "too fat," "too injured." Progress is usually slow and you many never go very far or very fast, but you can learn to enjoy activity.

Questions for Marie about her sports career? Please comment below!

This interview is part of the Thigh Flasher Athletes Who Inspire Me Interview Series. Contact me if you’d like to share your story as a sportswoman or nominate another sportswoman who has inspired you to get fit, compete, and or live a healthier lifestyle.

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