Jon Clark: What Mountains To Climb…Run Up

February 28, 2018



Originally from Michigan, Jon has been competing and traveling the world over since making his home in California in 1996. Although he has a team sports background in baseball and basketball, he’s been passionately pursuing a multitude of endurance related endeavors since high school. Most recent in his endurance sights…OCR.



Climbing after ‘Peak Experiences’


Early on, I developed my 15 minute 5K speed on the roads and track, then transitioned to the sports of mountain biking, triathlon and duathlon where I qualified for numerous World Championship events and achieved several All-American honors. From there my interest shifted almost entirely into the mountains – racing, running, trekking, scrambling and climbing after ‘Peak Experiences’.


Although I’m a serious proponent and practitioner of cross training, ultimately my primary focus is ascending high summits as fast as I can – Suffer then Savor the cruise back down (most of the time.) Now, this diverse background, cross-training and working as a Strength & Conditioning Coach/Fitness Trainer provides a solid foundation for Obstacle Course Racing.


There From The Beginning


Technically, I began OCR at the very first Spartan Race in Temecula, California back in January of 2011. I really didn’t know what to expect but then again, that was part of the appeal. I ended up 2nd place overall that day, finishing behind another OCR athlete that you may have heard of – Hobie Call. It was a memorable day indeed!


A number of us went off course, all new obstacles, very cold water, snow was all around us in the foothills and of course at that time we had the Gladiators to deal with before finishing with the fire pit. Since then I have sporadically participated in an OCR – probably once a year or so but my heart was happiest during trail running and mountain adventures.


Serious vision…Abstract and Concrete goals


Before the official birth of OCR, mud runs – notably the Camp Pendleton version – were quite popular and competitive and I have won that race over 10 times, along with countless other similar events (e.g. the Boot Camp Challenge, the Mountain Warfare Challenge as well as other mud runs). By my standards, I have yet to put together a 100% strong, clean race to my potential but I have managed a few overall Elite Podium positions, including the Spartan Beast in Big Bear and most recently, the 2018 Spartan SoCal race.


In varying levels of emphasis I have raced and competed in sports now for almost 40 years, being driven by these key reasons:

  • Competition – battling others.

  • Challenge – against myself and course.

  • Camaraderie – friends and comrads.

  • Culture – the entire lifestyle.

  • Fun baby! (Albeit, definitely type 2 fun at times.)


Focus…the OCR World!


Ultimately, my objective is to create a respectable collective body of work. I’m not getting any younger so I feel intensely compelled to really get after it! With my focus now aimed directly at the OCR world, I have a serious vision, sighting abstract and concrete goals.


These include competing in various brands of the sport, win races outright – including an Ultra distance. In addition, I aim to produce strong, consistent efforts, finish on the podium or possibly win National and World Championship titles at Spartan. IF I elect to race at the age group level.


And…as always, hopefully my desire can aspire to inspire the fire in others. While I’m still blessed to possess the health and opportunity, I’m seeking and striving to maximize my potential at an elite level.


And to me, that is OCR-MAX.

Images courtesy: Jon Clark. For more, connect at  @1jaclark






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