The Duncan Banner

May 22, 2013

Duncan’s Speed Demon

Sean Gorman
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — According to the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise Journal, the average American walks about 2.56 miles a day.

Take one look at Duncan track star Walker Clampitt’s workout regimen and it becomes clear that Clampitt, to say the least, is far from just average.

Clampitt runs six to eight miles a day, trains year round for both cross-country and track and schedules a three mile run after practices on a regular basis.

That hard work has paid off for Clampitt in his two years competing for the Demons, including this year’s showing at the Class 5A State Tournament when he took home the silver medal in the 800 and 1600 meter runs.

“For me, running is just a feeling of freedom,” Clampitt said. “I also enjoy the speed of the races. It’s mostly just a blur when its happening, but its a huge adrenaline rush.”

Clampitt played an integral role in one of Duncan top all-time performances at state two weeks ago, as the Demons finished in second place as a team.

“Our year started off pretty well and it stayed that way for most of the year,” Clampitt said.” “Nearly every week we were in the top three at different meets and it helped that we faced a lot of the big [Class] 6A and 5A schools.”

Like any athlete, Clampitt’s track career at Duncan has been a progression. He transferred from Comanche High School his freshman year, forcing him to sit out the remainder of the season. Hungry to get back on the track, Clampitt dug deep, worked harder than he ever before and the results arrived instantly. By the end of his sophomore year, he had placed fourth in the 800-meter run and fifth in the 1600-meter run.

“Freshman year I used as a learning bit and sophomore year was was really good because it was my first year to compete and I got a better idea of what I needed to do,” Clampitt said. “I started training really hard and used that experience this year.”

Fresh off the most successful season of his track career, Clampitt attributes most of his improvement on the track to a stronger approach above his shoulders.

“A lot of it was the mental preparation. For example, the 800 is almost all mental because you’re pretty much sprinting two laps,” Clampitt said. “I just had to get the mindset where I can’t say ‘oh, I’m tired, I have to slow down.’ You just have the mindset of ‘I have this much to go, its not going to be a big deal.’ That’s part of how last year prepared me for this season.”

With an understanding that a mindset can help win or lose a race, Clampitt turns to a pre-race ritual during every meet. Before stepping on the track, he takes a knee and prays

“I kneel down and say a prayer, ‘Lord, protect all of us, help us all run well and protect all the runners. When I get to the track, I do the same thing and after that I take a deep breath. Then it’s time to just go for it.”

Heading into the final season with the Demons, expectations are higher than ever for Clampitt.

“I either want to better the school record or set the state record in the 800,” Clampitt said. “I have really good competition for that, so that’s going to make it even harder than it normally would.”

Perhaps Clampitt’s top competition comes from his own team. Fellow Demon Mason Bivens stayed neck and neck with Clampitt at almost every meet, with the pair sharing the podium at a handful of tournaments.

“We definitely help each other out in a few different ways,” Bivens said of him and Clampitt working together. “We’ll discuss different race strategies before meets and work out together because we push each other so much.”

Clampitt’s talented aren’t limited to the track. He was named The Duncan Banner’s All-Area Cross Country Runner of the Year in 2012 after finishing 13th at the state meet and was Duncan’s top finisher at every meet last season.

“[Cross-country] It helps my nerves so much because after the season ends I’ll take about two weeks of fand then I’ll go back to my cross country training, do my six to eight miles a day, then do my longer runs on the weekend,” Clampitt said. “It has helped so much in building my endurance.”

Since starting his track career in sixth grade, Clampitt was lucky enough to have another former Duncan runner as a mentor – his cousin Molly O’Kelly, who graduated from DHS in 2008.

“She ran her too and helped me out,” Clampitt said. “She would tell me what she was doing in her race and give me advice on how to run mine. She always told me to stay calm and enjoy racing, because it goes by so fast.”

While the 2013 track season is now in the books, Clampitt’s time running won’t be stopping any time soon. The time for starting cross-country training is right around the corner and he said he may even attend a track camp in Millwood.

That’s what has made Clampitt so great. No matter where or when, there’s always a new opportunity for him to keep doing what he loves most –running.