IOWA CITY, Iowa — Raymund Clarke reached a personal goal when he qualified for the 2020 NCAA Indoor Championships. Building on that momentum, Clarke was excited for what the outdoor season would hold. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a day before nationals was set to kick off, Clarke heard the news with the 12 other Hawkeyes who traveled to compete.
“It was devastating for me when I found out the championship was over, being my last season and my first time qualifying for indoor nationals,” Clarke said. “I was in shock. I didn’t know what to think. When they canceled the indoor season, I had a feeling they would cancel the outdoor as well. I would say I was kind of prepared for that news but at the same time it was just unreal that something like this could happen.”
Clarke ran the second leg on the Big Ten champion and team-leading 1,600-meter relay (3:04.91), and the team-leading distance medley relay that placed sixth at the Big Ten Indoor Championship on Feb. 28-29. Those times rank second and fifth, respectively, all-time at Iowa.
“The plan is to come back next year and compete in the spring,” Clarke said.
While competing after college was never on his radar, Clarke became interested in trying out for the Jamaican Olympic team with the help from his mother. With the 2020 Olympics pushed to 2021, Clarke has extended his plans.
“My reason for trying out for the Jamaican team is because of my family background. My parents are from Jamaica and met each other in New Jersey,” said Clarke. “My mom doesn’t get to see me run in person a lot so I thought it would be something she could be proud about. Trying out for the team is for my mom. I never saw myself competing after college, but now this is an opportunity I want to pursue.”
Clarke plans to stay in Iowa City through the summer to finish online school and get back on track with training. This is his Hawkeye Shakeout.
What is a goal of yours for the 2021 outdoor season?
“One of my goals is to PR outdoor and make it to nationals and potentially try out for the Jamaican Olympic team. That was always the plan for me coming in. It’s something I’m looking forward to next year and making sure I’m consistent with everything I’m doing so I stay healthy.”
What has been an unforgettable moment as a Hawkeye?
“An unforgettable moment this year was winning the 4×4 at Big Tens. That was my first indoor Big Ten Championships, so it was a really big moment for me. It helped me regain all my confidence in racing. I was confident in what I was going to be doing come outdoor.”
How has online school and training been going?
“It’s definitely been difficult with all my classes being online. It is a different kind of learning. I’m more of a hands-on kind of learner so the online learning has been difficult.”
“Training-wise the motivation is hard to come by since there is no season. I’ve been trying little things here and there, but overall, it has been difficult. I took two weeks off at first.”
What does quarantine look like for you?
“I’ve been watching Netflix, Hulu, and playing my PS4. I have been trying to get back into my regular routine that I was in during the school year. It is a pretty basic day. I really try to keep my body moving and I stretch a lot, but it’s been a struggle to work out during this quarantine.”