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Peter Clarke

Griffin Level: Burley Griffin

How many Canberra Marathons have you run?

24 Canberra Marathons including 21 Ultra Marathons

When did you complete your first Canberra Marathon?


What is your favourite story to tell about the Canberra Marathon?

I don’t have any particular story that I simply have to tell you about the Canberra Marathon … but I will mention that I was doing the Griffin convening on behalf of the YMCA of Canberra Runners Club (now better managed by Peter Thomson) when Hilton Abkin became our youngest Griffin at age 28 ie 10 straight Canberra Marathons from the age of 18. In the same year Frank Dearn became the oldest qualifier at age 79. It was great to see the reception Hilton had when he crossed the finish. His family and friends made a special banner for him, including his picture, and it was an occasion that many others enjoyed as well. Hilton’s brother and father have since become Griffins and we are lucky to have this enthusiasm in our group.

What is your personal best?


Why are you a runner?

I’m a runner because I can, probably built on adequate genes and general sport activity as a youngster. The schools I attended all encouraged participation at whatever level we could perform, including inter-house events and inter-school or district events in athletics as well as football, cricket, baseball etc. I was never a distance runner. But what brought me into running in Canberra is the support and social context for runners - plenty of others who are prepared to run with me, or advise on their training or the not-infrequent injury recovery options. I do quite a bit of running by myself as with four children (now 19-25) I have had to squeeze in runs around other priorities. There is a welcoming peace in being able to spot a hill or path and think ‘ I can be there’ and simply put on the shoes and make it happen at a suitable time. It’s also good for exploring when undertaking travel - see more in a given time than walking.

What running moment are you most proud of?

My proudest moments are when I deliver more than I deserve - better performances than training/current health/weather etc would normally allow. It’s not always the best performances that deliver the most satisfaction. Having done a few of the Canberra 50 km runs, I was encouraged by another Griffin (Mick Corlis) to keep doing these. Mick has been the holder and curator of the Griffin running stats - you can see some of his other work on the coolrunning/mountainrunning site. As a result, I was the first to achieve 20 completed 50 km runs, and backed up for more, including 2016.

How do you stay motivated to keep running?

My motivation to keep running has several undercurrents. I’d like to keep active as long as possible, and it’s harder to get going again after stopping for health reasons. Like most people my age I’ve logged a few injuries that have kept me quiet for a while, but I’m lucky that my frame seems to be reasonably resilient. I’m also motivated by mixing with other runners who are much older than me (including the now 75 y.o. Bernie Millett) but still moving well and enjoying most of it - some are excellent age group performers. I also find that I can run with family (eg my 19 y.0. son did a sub-40 minute Canberra Times Fun Run again this year) or friends, and generally participate in active pursuits as a result of the running fitness. Obviously it also provides me with good cardio-vascular fitness and makes swimming and snorkelling as well as bush walks more fun.

And there is still that whimsical view of a runnable peak that lures me out …