Claire Burke is a WSC physiotherapist, who works with post operative orthopaedic patients. She is also our resident hydrotherapist. When she’s not in the water, she can’t help but run. We’ve interviewed her here to find out what drives her to be such a running enthusiast!

Claire, how did you get in to Marathons?

A friend who does a lot of running encouraged me, my first long run was the Sydney City to Surf.

And when was that?

Around 2008 I think. And so I did that and this same friend said “right, well that was 14km’s, you realise a half marathon is only 7km’s more, lets do it”, and so… I did a half marathon and got through that and he said “do you think you can go again?” and so it was that I kind of fell into doing my first marathon.

And that was in?

2009 on the Gold Coast, a nice flat course for my first attempt at 42 kms.

And you obviously survived.

Yes but only Just!

So how many marathons have you done now?

8 in total.

What has been the most memorable marathon you have done?

Probably the Adelaide Marathon, last week, because my dad was doing his first half marathon at the same time. The courses passed each other and so we got to give each other a high five which was really special.

And what drives you to run? Is your goal to improve your PB each time or do you just do it for participation, to be a part of the atmosphere?

The last few have definitely been about improving my time but in the beginning it was something to work towards and about increasing my fitness. I also really enjoy the scenery, I’ve even done a few overseas runs.

Which ones?

Patagonia in Argentina, that was an adventure trail run. One in Wales, that was another trail run along the coast which was incredibly beautiful and of course there was Paris.

Do you follow a particular training regime?

Yes. I follow the Gold Coast Marathon training program on their website. They have a beginner, intermediate and advanced program that are all really well set out and easy to follow.

Have you made any mistakes in your preparation along the way?

Yes definitely – The Paris Marathon I did after 6 months of backpacking through Central and South America and it’s quite hard to train over there because it’s not safe to run by yourself. So I hadn’t done nearly enough training, I also had a brand new pair of shoes (which was silly in itself), but then they were done up a little too tight. So it was very painful and with such a poor lead in, the whole race was incredibly hard mentally.

Have you got any advice for the novice participant deciding to run a marathon?

Start with a half and follow a proper training program, but above all remember you can definitely do it! I didn’t think I could and here I am 8 marathons later.

Did you run as a kid or at school?

I used to be quite into Athletics, but of course this was short distance and a little different.

Have you got any recovery tips or any gems of advice that you would recommend?

A good sports drink before, during and after the race is very important – essentially ensure you have a good hydration strategy. Always celebrate your achievements (a few beers with friends and family is a must) and of course swim, if you can get in the ocean or a pool it’s the best medicine for sore and tired muscles!

What is your next big challenge?

I am working towards the Comrades Marathon in 2015. It’s an ultra marathon in South Africa, it’s 85kms and will be a huge challenge. I’ve got a couple of years to get ready and will of course fit in a few ‘shorter’ races in between.