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Ultrarunner David Clark dead at 49 after complications from surgery

David Clark runner died
David Clark, an ultrarunner and author, passed away following back surgery complications. Pic credit: David Clark/Instagram

David Clark, an ultrarunner and bestselling author, has died at age 49. According to several sources, he was in an intensive care unit for several days due to post-op complications.

David Clark reportedly passed away on May 22 — one week after announcing his scheduled surgery.

In his last Facebook post, Clark revealed that he had back issues: “I have a herniated disc that ruptured into my spinal cord,” which affected his ability to walk.

The ultrarunner continued, telling his supporters that the medical staff were optimistic and expressed relief at diagnosing the back issue that has troubled him for many years.

“The doctors are optimistic that I’ll have a good recovery, but the rehab might be more of a marathon than a sprint… I’ll keep you all posted on how it goes. In the meantime, I’ve met lots of amazing people here at the hospital, I’ve been meditating and catching up on emails.”

David Clark was a bestselling author of several books such as Out There and Broken. He was also a source of inspiration for many after overcoming obesity, drug addiction, and alcoholism.

The late ultrarunner was also a running coach and mentor.

“David you were a sober warrior unlike any other. Someone who wrung every last drop out of life — and always gave back more. You are deeply loved. And will be terribly missed. Run free my friend. Run free,” tweeted Vegan athlete Rich Roll.

Several tributes have poured in for the late sober warrior, runner, and author.

View this post on Instagram

Today, we lost one of the toughest people I’ve ever known. Dave Clark (@wearesuperman) has passed away due to serious complications from back surgery. I first met Dave while pacing @marshall.ulrich at the 2015 Badwater 135 as we approached the final climb to the finish line on Mt. Whitney (last photo) and he became one of my closest friends over the last five-years. If you’ve spent any real time around me, you’ve either met Dave or heard all about him. Dave was a world-changer and he changed mine. In 2016, we sat together in Whole Foods in Boulder, CO, where he selflessly spent a few hours with me and set me on a course to running marathons and ultras. He believed in me way more than I believed in myself and heavily impacted my life, both personally and professionally. Dave’s message inspired anyone who had the opportunity to hear it, and it was powerful. I flew him in to speak to groups on multiple occasions and I watched firsthand as the words he shared changed the lives of those in attendance. He was a true warrior and he fought until the very end. Dave has left this world better than he found it and his impact will be felt for generations to come. Please keep his mother, children, @heppybear_ and his entire family close in Prayer. I love you, DC, and I will miss our deep and meaningful conversations. I appreciate all you’ve done for me and my family!🙏 #Prayer #Leadville #Colorado #LeadvilleRaceSeries #LT100 #ultrarunning #Badwater135 #RunningFamily #Godisgood #run #OutThere #BrokenOpen #WeAreSuperman #Hardrock100 #Hardrock

A post shared by Doug Barnette (@dbarnette) on

View this post on Instagram

(Please view all the photos!) So sorry to learn that my friend, fellow ultrarunner and sober warrior David Clark, passed away today. I am told that it was likely due to complications from a back surgery that happened 6 days ago. He never left the hospital. Exactly 4 years ago, David was with me and an amazing team of sober runners, crossing the US on foot to bring attention to the need for greater access to mental health services. We called it the Icebreaker Run. David was always an advocate for those in need. Many people mentioned David to me through the years, mostly due to his passion for sobriety. He was a lovable goofball, an impossible person to argue with (even for me), and a guy who pulled every ounce of life out of his time here. He never seemed to rest. I loved hearing him tell the story about the first time we met, somewhere after Towne Pass in Death Valley, during an epic Badwater journey. I can still see the smile on David’s face as he greeted me, wishing me luck with a leaping high five. David’s words and passion will live on through the countless people he has impacted. See you down the trail my friend. #wearesuperman #englerunningman #runningsober #icebreakerrun @pam_rickard @ranson0116 @dick_engle @bobbysud @dirtdiva333 @runnergirljaime

A post shared by Charlie Engle (@charlieengle) on

David Clark’s father, Loren, died from cancer earlier this year, shortly before the late runner’s 49th birthday.

David revealed that he once weighed over 320 pounds and was on a diet of fast food, painkillers, and alcohol. His desire to be a better father to his children inspired him to lose weight and diet.

Clark eventually switched to a plant-based diet experimenting with his eating habits. As an ultrarunner, he regularly participated in 130-mile races and other forms of extreme running.

In his best-selling memoir, Clark revealed that he has participated in several ultramarathon events and once ran across the United States among several other impressive feats, according to Runners World.

Clark was recently promoting his new book: Eat Sh*t And Die.

According to his last Instagram post, Clark was planning to coach 35 volunteers who wanted to lose weight and use the healthy living techniques detailed in his new book.

“Starting in June, I am coaching a group of health warriors that are ready to do serious work, dig deep and adopt a whole new paradigm.”

David Clark is survived by his children, books, and the many he inspired.

Frank Yemi covers breaking news, TV, and pop culture for Monsters & Critics. He has been a professional writer for more than eight years and... read more
Frank Yemi


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