Clara James-Heer is one of the best runners FHC has seen


Freshman Clara James-Heer started running when she was five years old; she took the USA triathlon title eight years later.

It’s safe to say running runs in the James-Heer genes. With many families, sports are carried on and taught to younger siblings at a young age. Much like this, Clara was prompted to begin the sport by watching her parents and her brother. 

“My whole family really enjoyed running,” Clara said, “so when I was younger, I would see my parents run many races. Watching them made me realize that they looked fun, and I wanted to start running too. I wrote them a letter asking if I could do my first 5k race.”

Clara enjoys running with a partner or group of people. Her dad has accompanied her on several runs, and this year, she got to run with her cross country team.

“I normally run with my dad,” Clara said, “but this year, I was able to run with my cross country team, which is a lot of fun. Even on the off-season, I enjoy getting together to run with some of my teammates.”

Clara takes on between four and eleven miles each run depending on what type of workout she’s looking to complete. For a speed workout, she usually runs about seven miles; for a longer run, she will go up to eleven miles.

For many students, getting home from school calls for a nice break. Clara, however, considers after-school her prime time for running, not only from an exercise standpoint but for her mentality as well.

“My favorite time of day to run is after school at about three p.m. because it is nice to clear my head after a long school day,” Clara said.

Along with being an accomplished runner in cross country and track, Clara competes in triathlons.

“I also do triathlon [running], which is my favorite sport,” Clara said. “I like this sport because it combines my three favorite sports: swimming, biking, and running. It’s fun to race this sport because even if you are last on the swim, you could be a really good runner and make up the time.”

During the cross country season, Clara runs about forty miles per week. Though when she’s doing triathlon training, she normally does around thirty miles per week.

She enjoys running on dirt roads near Forest Hills Eastern because they are very hilly, giving her an overall better workout. Like every runner, favorite trails to run come with favorite distances to run.

“My favorite distance to run is definitely the two-mile because the run isn’t too short or too long, so it is really fun to race,” Clara said. “The second mile is harder [to run] because you are very exhausted from going out so hard the first mile; this is why you have to try and not go out too hard [on the first mile] so [that] you are able to run well [on] the second mile.”

True to form of most runners, diet plays a role in Clara’s training, particularly the day before a race.

“The day before races I normally drink a lot of water and a lot of carbs,” Clara said. “This normally consists of a lot of pasta because carbs the day before help me perform best for my races.”

Clara has run in Oregon and New York, both providing very different experiences. She experienced her least favorite run in Oregon and her most favorite in New York. The terrain in Oregon proved treacherous for Clara while running there.

“My worst running experience is when I went for a run in Oregon at a camp,” Clara said.  “When we were running in the mountains, I fell about four times on the trail and got all scraped up; it was not a good run.”

New York City, a city known for excitement, provided Clara’s most thrilling racing experience. 

“My best running experience is when I did a race in New York in the 3k run,” Clara said. “I was able to go from second place for most of the run to passing the first place girl and winning by only a few seconds.”

One of Clara’s running goals for the future is to complete a marathon. Another goal that she’s working towards diligently involves FHC’s athletic teams.

“I would really like to try and win states in either cross country or outdoor track,” Clara said.