Meet Program Coordinator- Greg Clarke

Greg enjoys doing triathlons (races where you swim, bike, and run)

Greg enjoys doing triathlons (races where you swim, bike, and run)

A week ago you were introduced to one of our coordinators, Brian Witt.  Here we give you a chance to get to know a bit about Greg Clarke, who with Brittany Watrous, rounds out the 3 musketeers…I mean coordinators.  We are excited that Greg is also going to be coaching the team from the Orange County Rescue Mission!

Tell us about your relationship with Christ: Having suffered much loss in my life and coming from a family of alcoholism, it set me on a journey of seeking answers to the loss and destruction I had witnessed growing up. I finally found those answers when an employee invited me to his church and I was introduced to the saving grace of Jesus.

Where do you live? I grew up in Long Beach rooting for the Dodgers and moved to Orange County in 1990 to be closer to work. I now live in Tustin with my wife Liz and daughter Thierry. Orange County is a wonderful place to do the activities I love which are running, cycling and swimming.

What other activities are you involved in? I serve as a lay counselor at my church counseling men with marital and or addiction issues. I also lead a Divorce Recovery Workshop at my church. I’m so thankful for the privilege that God has given me to serve the broken and wounded. When I’m not serving you’ll find me swimming, biking, and running all over Orange County. If you see me be sure to wave but don’t honk. I ignore drivers who honk! 🙂

What is your athletic history? My first love is baseball and I played baseball and basketball for many years. My first venture in to endurance sports was setting a world record of 96 consecutive hours playing table tennis. Later I started cycling both road and off road and in 2005 won the California State Championship as a mountain bike racer. With inspiration from my father in law Ray who ran a half marathon at 70 years young and encouragement from my wife Liz who was doing triathlons, I started the journey of training for an Ironman triathlon and finished my first Ironman in 2010. The takeaway from these things is not what I’ve done, but how I’ve seen God work through these things to help shape and mold me in to the person he desires me to be. During the hard training or difficult races God has revealed himself to me so that I can gain a better perspective on my life and my faith, through His strength not mine. Each mile that I can swim, bike or run, I’m so very thankful. My prayer is that all Up And Running athletes will experience the same.

What region are you a program coordinator for? What ever region God and Steve calls me to. 🙂

 
How did you get involved with URA? I first found out about URA during a meeting at the Orange County Rescue Mission. I talked with one of the staff and right away thought it was a brilliant program. You can learn so much about yourself and your relationship with God by participating in endurance sports.

 
What are you most excited for in working with URA? Building relationships with people and being an active listener to their personal stories. God wants us to be in community, engaging with one another in our hurts, fears, pains, and of course celebrations. The fact that I get to do this while running is just a bonus!

 
What part of the URA program or participants have impacted you most in the past? Building a connection of trust with a runner where you are not only encouraging them in their running but in their personal life as well and to have them look at you and say “thank you for helping me.”

After the Laguna Hills Half Marathon, Greg gives Jeff, from OC Rescue Mission a big hug.

After the Laguna Hills Half Marathon, Greg gives Jeff, from OC Rescue Mission a big hug.

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