We recently had the privilege of catching up with 2018 fisicorem GC50 Run Festival male winner, Rob Clarke. Fresh from an impressive victory at the Gold Coast Running Festival (Marathon), Rob is due to return to the GC50 start line this December after missing out in 2019 due to injury. Enjoy!
GC50: Firstly, congratulations is in order Rob. You recently won the marathon at the Gold Coast Running Festival. It must have been good to get out and race again?
Rob: Thank you, it was really good to be out racing again and seeing fellow competitors. With the cancellation of a few events this year, it was nice to be able to see if my training was working. It has been a difficult year trying to plan ahead for the next upcoming event, to have them cancelled at the last minute. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to compete again. I’d like to take this opportunity the give a a big thank you to Nike Robina , Versus socks and Whyirun podcast for their ongoing support. Oh, and the running community in general!
GC50: We noticed from your recent instagram post that despite the win, you still felt you had plenty left in the tank. How has the training been lately?
Rob: My training has been fantastic thanks. I am always looking to improve and find new ways that help me achieve. The break from racing has given me opportunity to work on other aspects of running and find new ways to implement this in my training plans. I feel that I have improved 100% over the last 12-months and the recent marathon win at the Gold Coast Running Festival was great. It's always nice to do it on a home course - it was a great confidence boost. I had lots left in the tank as I was not pushing the paces I have been training at.
GC50: Unfortunately, an injury last year meant that you were unable to defend your GC50 title win from 2018. As much as we loved having you as a volunteer for the day last year, we’re pumped to get you back in the race. Are you looking forward to getting back on the GC50 start line?
Rob: 100% looking forward to the race, and I will be giving my all, as i always do. It's a special race for me and truely believe it's the greatest road ultra in Australia by a mile! It's a great time for all runners and their families to get together and embrace the running community. I love to watch people achieve their goals, whatever they may be. It's not always about being FAST at the event - if you take a closer look into the entrants, and the reasons behind participating it's really inspiring. Last year having all the charities involved was great to see!
GC50: You won in 2018 and claimed fourth spot back in 2014. Was there anything you learnt from the race in 2014 that you think helped you claim the victory in 2018?
Rob: Thats a secret (laughs). I believe I won in 2018 because if I am at my best it will take something special to beat me. This sounds arrogant but if you don't believe you can win you won’t - it's that simple. It's a hot, hard day out and you need a strong mind.
GC50: What kind of training do you tend to do in the lead up to the GC50? Is there anything special that you do for this race to prepare for the heat or distance?
Rob: I could tell you but then I would have to kill you (laughs). It's a tricky one as you never quite know the weather in December it can be hot or sometimes cooler. Be prepared for anything and you may just get it right. For a first timer on the course I would say go out easy till half way and make sure you keep hydrated! Find someone to run at a similar pace to yourself - it's a long way back on your own.
GC50: We have to ask you – we’ve locked in a new course this year, making the venture south. It’s certainly picturesque – but what are your thoughts from a runners perspective?
Rob: I am looking forward to a flat fast course. New courses, always interest me. I look forward to seeing how it works. The race has been developing over the years and so far hasn't disappointed with any changes it has made. The new course I would say is the best part of the old course, so it's going to be magic.
GC50: Are you feeling confident ahead of this year’s event? It would be nice to get the win on the new course wouldn’t it...
Rob: Yes I am feeling 100% confident. I believe in my training.
GC50: Ok, favourite running spot to train on the Gold Coast?
My favourite spot depends on the type of training. I run in a few places - I love open stretches so I can open up the legs. For a nice easy run I run around Varsity Lakes and over on the Mudgeeraba park run course - it's nice in the summer with tree coverage and a few rolling hills. To be honest we're spoilt for choice here on the Gold Coast - there's so many great spots!
GC50: One piece of advice you could give to a first timer attempting the GC50 this year...
Rob: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, believe in your training as it will get hard, but do not give up, the finish line feeling will make it all worth it.
GC50: What shoes do you run in?
Rob: Well I run in Nike Next%, or Nike Alphafly Next%, as I do love the guys at Nike Store Robina, but for a first timer of the distance you want something that is super comfy! They have a great range in store and the staff are runners so always someone that can steer you in the right direction. I do believe On Running are event sponsors and they have a few options for distance running. The main thing you want for 50k in the heat is a nice comfy shoe, that's not too heavy, allowing a bit of room in the toe box as your feet swell in the heat.
GC50: What’s your ideal post-race treat, following 50kms?
Rob: I do not eat straight after an event. I'll just grab a coffee with lots of sugar and a sit down watch the other runners come in.
Enjoy the day everyone. I hope everyone enjoys reading this interview and I look forward to seeing you all in December. Train hard and smart.
Registrations for the 2020 fisciorem GC50 Run Festival are filling fast. Enter at www.gc50runfestival.com.au.
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