PLAINFIELD, NJ - It’s apparent that Darryl Clark, founder and executive director of the Plainfield-Queen City Historic 5K Walk/Run, has built this successful 5K event by using the same methodology that he uses personally and professionally.
Clark's approach, composed of abundant purpose and passion, critical planning, ardent follow-through, and continual reassessment, has the potential outcomes of Olympic proportions. A man of great faith, Clark spoke straightforwardly of his leadership role in the 5K event. “I’m here as a vessel, and by the grace of God. I prayed about it. I realize that it is not about me, but about the initiative," Clark said.
Clark, a corporate professional, has worked with such corporations as AT&T for many years as a certified project manager. He has a Master's Degree in technology and management. A proud family man, husband, father, and certified nutritionist, Clark beams with passion for the children and seniors of Plainfield, whom he refers to as the “bookends” of the community.
As a young child and teen, Clark participated in school sports, and as an adult he has participated in the road race circuit in New York City. He went on to pursue the 5K and 10K runs because he found them more appealing than the road races. “I used to walk and run with walking and running clubs,” said Clark. Influenced by nationally known, nutritionist, and radio talk show host Gary Null, Clark sees nutrition and exercise as a way to bring healing to the community.
Clark professes not to be political, but used his professionalism to gain the support of Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs, who gave him the seal of approval from the beginning. He has also gained the support of Plainfield mayoral candidate, Adrian Mapp, and wife Amelia Mapp, whom he would occasionally catch up with on walks in the neighborhood.
Having also worked in the Plainfield schools, Clark recognized the key areas that they community needed help, and over time, came up with what he calls the “five pillars” that would define the desired fruit of the event. Some of those pillars were to bring unity to the community, and to improve the image of Plainfield. Mr. Clark also stresses, in the five pillars, the need for Health Awareness and Advocacy, especially for the children and seniors.
Clark acknowledged that there were many terrific people who have stood by him over the past three years, helping to make this event successful. Former Plainfield Board of Education President, Renata Hernandez; Plainfield school track coach, Payton Hines; Ruth Wright; Mike Pines and John Brinkley, Frontiers Organization; local attorney Pam Dunn-Hale; and world record holder, Sid Howard, represent for his organization what happens when dedicated people come together for a good cause.
“We are grateful for the backing of JFK hospital who has been the major supporter for us. The idea of contacting the hospital came out of one of our meetings, and resulted in meeting with Steven Weiss of JFK who loved the idea and supported us early on,” Clark said.
The annual Plainfield-Queen City Historic 5K Walk/Run for Life will begin this Saturday at 8 a.m., featuring Plainfield’s dynamic Marching Band and a host of entertainment, that Clark says is “sure to please.” Coordinators are hoping for a wide range of participants, whether they are avid athletes, fun-loving walkers, runners, or those who just want to get out and enjoy the beautiful autumn in Plainfield with family and friends. Participants will have the opportunity to compete as a team.
A special tribute will be paid to Plainfield's own Milt Campbell. Milt Campbell, often referred to as, "The World's Greatest Athlete", was the Olympic Decathlon Silver Medalist in 1952 and came back and won the Decathlon Gold Medal in the 1956 Olympics. Campbell was the first African American to win the Decathlon and played professional football for the Cleveland Browns and in the Canadian Football League.