TyAnn Clark: Marathoner, Mom + Obstacle Racing Star

TyAnn Clark has found her niche in obstacle course racing. Photo: Courtesy of Atlas Race

TyAnn Clark has finished on the podium in 12 of the 14 races she’s entered.

TyAnn Clark is a sub-3-hour marathoner but admits she doesn’t enjoy running the long miles it takes to be a good long-distance road runner. Hobie Call, a 2:16 marathoner who made his name dominating the emerging sport of obstacle course racing, convinced her to give it a try more than a year ago. “I found a love for a sport that challenges me more than just running,” she says.

Clark, 33, of Toquerville, Utah, is a mother of three—her youngest is 2—and she’s also one of the top women in the U.S. in the growing OCR scene. She’s on the Spartan Race Pro Team and has finished on the podium in 12 of the 14 obstacle races she’s entered, with five wins to her credit. She is on the short list of those who have a shot to dethrone superpower Amelia Boone at the Spartan World Championships on Sept. 20 in Vermont.

RELATED: 2014 Obstacle Course Championships

What do you enjoy about obstacle course racing?

I’ve always been strong for a runner and had actually just started doing CrossFit before my first race. I loved using my whole body in workouts. With OCR, I had found a running race that used all of that too.

Do you have another job to supplement your career or are you a full-time racer?

Yeah it pretty much has taken over our lives. That happens to a lot of people though—they get addicted. My mom lives with me while my husband works out of town and is extremely understanding of my 2- to 3-hour workout days. I teach Zumba and train and it all seems to just fit together. Sometimes my kids are there when I train and they think it’s normal and love to do it too. We have all the equipment except barbed wire [laughs]. Walls, monkey bars, log hops, tires, rope climb. We have mini versions of everything so they can “practice.”

RELATED: Obstacle Course Racing Goes Big Time

What events do you do?

I have tried all of the Spartan Race distances. Since I used to race marathons one would think that I would love the Beasts, but in a way they are more draining! [Spartan has three levels, and the Beasts are the longest, at least 12 miles and more than 25 obstacles.] I love the Supers [9 miles]. It’s long enough that I get to use more endurance but not too long.

How often do you race?

Typically one a month, sometimes two. Most of us haven’t figured out how to periodize. We train for the championship race, but every race is important and intense.

How do you adjust to such a demanding race schedule?

I think you adapt. I’m kind of used to it I guess—no one has a schedule—so I just train for a couple weeks, taper and then recover. I run 30- 40 miles a week- focusing on quality over quality. I do CrossFit and do obstacle specific training, two-a-days, and I focus on recovery methods such as recovery drinks right after workouts. And naps along with lots of regular sleep. I’m going to take a big long break after the championship race.

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