BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Organizers of The Louisiana Marathon predict an estimated 8,000 runners will participate in at least one of several races this weekend across Baton Rouge. One of the youngest lining up for the full marathon is a local high school student.
When runners race through the streets of the Capital City some will stand out from the pack. Some runners will lead, others will establish new personal records, but many are facing the challenge of a new, longer distance. Such is the case with 16-year-old Will Clark.
"I've been training for about two months," Clark said.
Clark will be one of the youngest runners this year to take on The Louisiana Marathon.
"Competitively, the longest distance I've run was three miles," Clark said.
But Clark is not an amateur by any means. The St. Michael High School Warrior said his biggest accomplishment was running top seven in the state last year. He started running in the seventh grade to train for soccer. Clark said his dad's friend, Ollie Stoten, a British ultra-marathon runner, inspired what has now become a competitive running career.
"He came over and he ran 15 miles like it was nothing, and he inspired me and my parents. They were getting into running, and we are now a running family," Clark said.
Clark said while his relatives have been his biggest supporters, he still holds the title of fastest in his family. But, he said, this weekend isn't about winning, it's about taking on something bigger than what years ago may have seen impossible.
"I'm focused on the miles. I'm focused on being consistent. It's going to be a challenge but that's what I am doing it for," Clark said.
Like any trained runner, Clark already has his sights set beyond the finish line. Once he earns his bragging rights, he said he'll likely take on an obstacle course race.
The Louisiana Marathon starts at 7 a.m. on Sunday. But there are a few races throughout the weekend. For more information, click here.