Jurek takes down Clark’s 24-hour record

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Scott Jurek snatched another record away from an Auburn runner earlier this month. But Rae Clark is still clinging to his most impressive and longest standing record. In 2006, Jurek won his seventh straight Western States Endurance Run titles to break the record of five, previously held by Aubun’s Tim Twietmeyer. On May 14 at the World 24-Hour Run Championships in Brive, France, Jurek ran 165.7 miles to edge Clark’s national record set in 1990. “I’ve met Scott many times and I told him in the last y ear or two that he’s one of the guys that could break the record,” Clark said. “After what he’s done at Badwater and the Spartathlon, I knew he could do it. And he told me, ‘Records are meant to be broken.’” Clark completed 165.4 miles in 24 hours to set the American road race record at Megan’s Run in Portland, Ore. in 1990. He was at the peak of a racing career that has included 13 Western States finishes and more than 100,000 miles ran. “In 1989 and ’90 I had my two best years,” Clark explained. “I was invited to a race on the Wall of China and they gave us money to train, but then they cancelled the race. I decided to do Megan’s Run and (former Western States Race Director) Norm Klein was there keeping me up to date on my mileage. The unofficial record at the time was 161 or 162 miles. I thought if I could do it, I would wipe those out.” He did, adding the 24-hour record to the 100-mile record he had set in 1989. On a one-mile loop in New York, Clark made 100 laps in 12 hours, 12 minutes and 19 seconds. The American record hasn’t been touched since, though Clark realizes it will probably eventually fall. “The 100 miles is tougher,” Clark said. “There’s only five or six guys in the world that have gone under 12, so that’s a tough time to get. I’ve helped a couple of guys train to do it, but everything has to go perfectly.” Clark, who teaches transitional skills to disabled high school graduates, still runs between five and 10 miles each and every day. At age 58, he said he’s feeling great and might take another shot at Western States in the coming years. Jurek ran Western States in 2009 for the first time since his record-breaking run in 2006, but did not finish. He will not run this year’s race, which will be held on June 26.