WHEN Australian athlete Milly Clark runs the marathon at this year’s Olympic Games it will not only represent just her second attempt at track and field’s ultimate test but complete a global odyssey that began in Youngtown.
Germany, Indonesia, the US and the Netherlands have all played roles in the 27-year-old’s path to Brazil but the Sydney-based athlete has no doubt where she still calls home.
Every chance I get I come back to TassieMilly Clark
“Every chance I get I come back to Tassie,” Clark said.
“My Grandma lives in Greens Beach which is where we all consider home and I still love going back there.”
Youngtown Little Athletics Club can take the credit for starting the Launceston-born Clark on her Olympic odyssey.
“I started there at under-eights and just loved it from day one.
“I found myself winning races and being OK and enjoyed that.”
However, the East Launceston and Youngtown primary school pupil specialised in 400-metre hurdles and only really explored distance running after living in three other continents.
“I never really did long distance until I was 18. I got a scholarship to go to uni in USA and they said ‘you’re definitely not a sprinter, why don’t you try cross-country?’. I had to run more than 3km for the first time in my life but really took to it.”
After impressing over 10km and half-marathon distances, Clark dazzled on her marathon debut in Amsterdam last October, clocking the eighth fastest all-time Australian performance of 2:29:07 in finishing third and recording an Olympic qualifier.
Last week, the former gymnast, basketballer and even rugby player was named alongside established Olympians Lisa Weightman and Jess Trengove in Australia’s team for the Rio women’s marathon.
FULL STORY: Page 39