Marathoner blazing trails

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Back in 1989, Hollister resident Clementine Jones took up
running to relieve stress from the daily grind of a pressure job.
It became such a passion for her she began to run in 5k and 10k
runs before moving on to her first marathon run in 1999.
Back in 1989, Hollister resident Clementine Jones took up running to relieve stress from the daily grind of a pressure job. It became such a passion for her she began to run in 5k and 10k runs before moving on to her first marathon run in 1999.

Last Saturday, Jones ran a personal best 3:58.06 at the Suzuki Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego. The time met the minimum qualification mark for the Boston Marathon of 4:05 for women ages 50-54. Her achievement was remarkable since she hadn’t run a marathon in two years, taking time off for rest.

“I was surprised I ran sub-four hours,” said Jones, who is called ‘Clemi’ by her friends and close relatives. “I had worked hard and knew I had the ability to do it. I started out fast and paced myself well.”

Jones maintained just over a 9-minute per mile pace. Halfway through the marathon she was clocke at 1:53.40.

“Clemi’s a consistent runner,” said friend John Gilliland, who has run with Jones at the Bridge to Bridge Marathon in San Francisco. “She can keep a good pace. She’s a lot of fun, too. She knows how to enjoy herself after a race.”

Born in Watsonville

Jones, a Hollister High alumnus of 1968, was born in Watsonville, but moved to Hollister right away where she has lived since. She trains every weekday morning at Rancho San Justo School, rising at the crack of dawn to get to the track by 5 a.m. There, she’ll run a minimum three to five miles, with the only lights coming from the stars above.

“There’s a group of us there at that hour who run,” said Jones. “We have our own ‘track club’. We don’t like to run alone.”

On weekends, she travels up to Los Gatos to run on the long courses of Lexington Dam Reservoir and the aptly named Jones Trail where she’ll run 12 to 20 miles a session. One of her partners there has been Laura Krebs, who runs for Life Team in Training.

“Laura and I are different type of runners,” said Jones. “She’s all business in practice. I’m have better race day capability. I feed off the crowd. I use that adrenalin when I run.”

Jones trains by the training program of Hal Higdon, a long-time training guru based in Los Gatos. Higdon has various books out on marathon running, from how to better one’s time or simply, how to finish a

marathon. She eats vegetables, some red meat, not a lot of potatoes and rice.

“I’m not a big carbo eater,” said Jones. “I eat enough two days before a race. That’s enough for me.”

Jones has run in six 26.2-mile marathons – the Suzuki three times, the Bridge to Bridge, Big Sur and Sacramento marathons. The one in Sacramento is called the California International Marathon. It starts in Folsom and finishes at the state capital building. It isn’t until December 7, but that’s the marathon Jones will run in next so she’ll have plenty of time to train.

As far at the Boston Marathon, Jones is going to mix business with pleasure.

“I want to enjoy the race,” said Jones, 52. “I’m not shooting for any specific time. Boston is rich in history. I’m going to enjoy the scenery. There is so much to see.”

Feels good about running

“Running is a sport where you’re only as good as you want or as bad as you want to be,” said Jones. “I like it because there are no phones and no one is trying to get anything from you. I’m a different person the day that I run, than when I don’t run.”

Marathon races are packed, especially at the starting line. But the large crowd doesn’t affect Jones.

“A runner gets in his or her own niche,” said Jones. “They get into their own groove. You don’t depend on anyone else, not an infielder or an outfielder.”

There is something spiritual for Jones when she runs a marathon, but the most spiritual is the Big Sur Marathon.

“There is no crowd to feed off,” she said. “It’s different. The course is hilly. You’re out there alone it seems.”

After she finishes any run, Jones has her own ritual.

“I’m thankful after I finish any run because I have the health to do it,” said Jones, who has been blazing her own trail of late.

Call it the Jones Trail II.

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