Q&A | Clare Pitcher, fourth-year middle distance runner from Iowa, talks Drake Relays

The Iowan newspaper: What is the most rewarding aspect of athletics?

Clare Pitcher: Seeing all the hard work pay off. We are in season all year round, so it can be taxing on our bodies. Once we get into the season and everything comes together, it feels worth it.

What does it mean to you when you see your teammates succeed?

I always say that I get more excited about other people’s achievements than my own. If I do well, that’s fine with me, but I will always expect more from myself. A win for everyone on the team is a win for the Hawkeyes. And as a female athlete, a win for a female athlete is a win for all of us.

How would your teammates describe you?

At this point in my career, they would describe me as a leader. It is my responsibility to take the younger girls under my wing. Because I also have a bit of a bigger personality, I think people are drawn to that and see me as a leader on the team.

Besides running, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I don’t have much free time, but I love hanging out with my teammates. I never get sick from them.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

One thing I was told was not to take your highs too high and your lows too low. Not every day will be a victory, but consistency pays off. It’s like the saying ‘every grain of sand makes a sand castle’.

What’s a fun fact that not many people know about you?

I have quite a large family. I am one of nine children. All my sisters’ names start with Mary, so my name is actually Mary Clare.

Who inspires you?

Being at the University of Iowa, the children at Children’s Hospital inspire me. I have to drive past the hospital every day on the way to the practice, and it always puts things into perspective.

How do you hope to inspire others?

I just want to continue to reiterate to the girls on the team that at the end of the day, we are more than just athletes. It took me a long time to realize that, but I realized that when I put time and energy into other aspects of my life, I started to enjoy my sport even more.