On the road to health: A chat with Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark, 50, an owner-operator from Kewaunee, Wis., has had a busy year since last featured in Truckers News as the 2008 Fit for the Road Health Hero of the Year. Clark, who is leased to American Service Line, took time out from trucking and running to chat with TN about his latest accomplishments.

TN: Let’s start with the big stuff first. How many marathons have you run since we last caught up with you?
JC: From 2008-2009 I ran the Green Bay Marathon twice, the Fox City Marathon and Whistlestop. My best time was 4:46.

TN: What about other races?
JC: I ran three half marathons, Green Bay twice and Fox City. I also did a half Duathlon which is a 5k run, 30k bike ride, 5k run.

TN: Runners World featured you in a profile in the Dec. 2009 issue. What kind of response have you had?
JC: It’s been amazing. I’ve had tremendous response from readers and truckers and have also had a fair amount of media inquiries. It seems like people are fascinated by the idea of a trucker/runner. I’ve had a lot of social media response, too, and my Twitter account gets a lot of hits. My goal has always been to get the word out about the sorry state of truckers’ health. This kind of attention helps the cause.

TN: What new projects are you working on?
JC: I’m still promoting my book, Hey, We’re Dying Out Here. I’m also doing some writing for trucking publications, radio interviews and anything that comes along.

TN: Have you seen any increase in truckers running or walking on your travels?
JC: I’m seeing more truckers running than ever before. I’m also seeing truckers walking laps around the truckstop or even walking around their truck. When I head out for a run, I try to talk to any truckers who look like they might want to join me. The word is spreading and truckers are starting to have conversations about health. It’s a start.

TN: What are your goals for this year?
JC: I’m training for the Austin Marathon on Valentine’s Day. I’m definitely going to train to do the full Duathlon this year, and if I can get my swimming down, I’d like to try a triathlon. I’ll also do the Green Bay Marathon again. I’d like to work on speed and hope to improve my times. But the goal is usually to finish.

TN: Have you met any new trucker runners?
JC: I love chatting with people in the Facebook group, Truckin’ Runners. I’ve shared tips with other truckers like where the best trails are near truckstops. It’s a very positive, upbeat group that’s supportive of other runners. It’s really turning into a community.

TN: Any tips you’d like to give readers who are thinking about getting started in a fitness program?
JC: Start slow! Take baby steps. The main thing is to keep adding to what you’ve already done. When I started exercising, I had not done anything active for 30 years! Tips: Start slow, increase slow, don’t expect to go out and run two miles. You have to build up your fitness by adding no more than 10 percent every week. Be patient, but be consistent.

TN: What about diet? How do you manage to eat healthy on the road?
JC: I eat a lot of veggies and fruit and try to order healthy food from the menu. But I also love a good cheeseburger. So I try to balance the good with the bad. It’s an ongoing struggle, but I try not to stress about it too much. Hopefully I burn enough calories when I run to make up for the times I treat myself.

TN: Well, good luck on your endeavors. And if you ever get a load through Alabama, we’d love to get a group and run with you through the University of Alabama campus!
JC: Sounds great!

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