Athlete of the Week: Clare Martin

Photo by John Sangiolo

By Lola Coulter and Emma Wenning

Cross-country captain, senior Clare Martin is leading her team to important and well-deserved victories this season.

Martin’s high school career holds many impressive achievements and awards. Throughout her four years, Martin has taken home the title of DCL all-star, state champion, New England champion, as well as achieving All-American status.

This week, Denebola got a chance to sit down with Martin as she continues to lead the team this season.

When and why did you start running?

“I started running in sixth grade, and I started [with] cross country. I was inspired to do that because my brother started running cross country for Brown Middle School and I tend to copy him in a lot of things. Also, I enjoyed doing the fifty meter dash in elementary school, and so I thought hey, maybe running would be an enjoyable sport for me.”

How do you train?

I train 7 days a week, last year I was running 6 days a week, but now I have upped that to 7 days per week. On a typical week with one meet, I’ll have one race day, either on Wednesday or Saturday, I’ll have one long run, one second long run, one average length run, and then 2 workouts. My longest run is 9 miles, and then I’ll have an easy day, which is either on Friday or Saturday, depending on if I have a Wednesday or Saturday meet. I just go for a couple easy miles on those days. My weekly mileage now is between 45 and 50 miles, but I didn’t used have that mileage, I have worked up to it.”

Do you have any pre-meet rituals?

“I am not a superstitious person, so I don’t like to have too many rituals. I feel like if you don’t follow all your rituals, you aren’t mentally prepared for your race, so I don’t have any set routine besides going through my stretching routine and also skipping some strides with my team. I like to eat throughout the day and snack during the hour leading up to the race.”

We heard you had an amazing race this weekend and finished first at the Twilight meet. Can you explain to us what it was and how your meet went?

“Although I got first in the race, I wasn’t very thrilled with my performance just because I didn’t run a personal record. Compared to my performance last year I was nine seconds slower. That being said, there wasn’t anyone around me this year to pace off of, where as last year there was a group of 4 runners, including me. We were all running in a pack through most of the race which was great for competition. Two of those girls are now graduated. I felt good at the end of the race this year, whereas last year I was pretty exhausted so that gives me confidence that I still am potentially more fit than I was last year. As a team, we didn’t have our best race at Twilight this year for various reasons. Some were injured, some people just couldn’t race, and some people got a little caught up with the crowd in the beginning of the race and didn’t get up fast enough. But, we did have a few girls that hit major personal records. So overall, it was a mix of highs and lows.”

How is the cross country team this year?

“We’ve been doing well. We’ve had a couple of races where we haven’t had our full roster running, so I don’t think we have shown our true potential yet. At the beginning of the season we were ranked number one by a coaches poll, and then also number two in another poll. Those are lofty expectations but we are definitely confident that we can hit those expectations at the later meets. We just have to bring all the ingredients together because so far we have had a little stumbling blocks along the way. As long as we get over them now, I think we will be able to show our true potential at the state meets.”

Since you’re a year round runner, can you explain which season is your favorite, cross country, indoor or outdoor track, and why?

“I really have no preference for a season. As my coach says, whatever season I’m in, that’s my favorite season. I think running year round gives you a lot of diversity in the type of training you can do because in cross country you do most of your workouts on grass loops. Whereas in track, you run the workouts on the outdoor track or on the roads if it’s snowy outside. I really like having different terrain to train on year round. With cross country, I think it’s nice to be running outside and be distracted by the really nice surroundings. In track, it’s fun to focus on hitting those splits that you plan before the race so I enjoy that aspect of track.”

What are your plans for running in the future?

“I plan to run for a D1 college next year. I am not saying which yet because I still haven’t firmed up plans yet, but I am excited for that. My absolute dream would be to run after college in some professional manner. But, obviously that is going to take a lot of work.”