The First Time: Meet Claire Hooper
We check in with comedian Claire Hooper as she prepares for her first half-marathon at the 2014 Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival.
SEE THE FULL STORY HERE.
Funny lady Claire Hooper is a comedian, writer and broadcaster from Brunswick, Melbourne. She’s bought her quirky style of comedy to a range of television and live shows, including Rove Live, and a four year stint as captain on Network TEN’s Good News Week.
Claire began her comedy career back in 2004 in her hometown of Perth, where she won her state finals in Triple J’s Raw Comedy. Since then her rise to comic fame has taken to Edinburgh Fringe Festival, six solo shows, and even a book – Love Bites. She’s also written, directed, and performed in a number of theatre shoes… but not necessarily at the same time.
At 38, Claire has just welcomed her first child, baby Penny, earlier this year. Don’t delegate her to the Flustered Mum camp just yet, though. Impressively, both she and her husband manage to fit in a run in the mornings before work – one at a time – with a sacrifice of a few hits of the snooze button. Just a few short months after giving birth, Claire is taking on the 22km half marathon, and feels pretty damn good about it too.
Claire, you've only recently given birth to your first child, Penelope. Most new mums would run a mile from running a mile, so what's your motivation?
I don’t want motherhood to make me a non-participator, or for my most exciting moments to all be behind me! I like the idea of Penny growing up seeing her mother follow her passions and accept challenges. I’m trying to let the fact that it’s hard – seriously hard! - motivate me to be a better person.
Plus, my husband was training for a half marathon and I wanted to steal his thunder.
How do you think the training will fit in around looking after your baby?
It’s doing our heads in already. We get up early enough before my husband leaves for work to fit in two runs – I run while he minds her, then he runs while I mind her. It’s ridiculous. I think we’re going to have to throw some money at babysitting or we’re gonna burn out.
Training for a half marathon means giving up some things: what will be your greatest sacrifice?
Time spent with together as a family. I really miss sitting around in bed in the morning with the husband and the baby.
What's the first thing you will do after the race?
I would like to lie on the floor of my lounge room while my baby pats my face.
CHECK IN: WEEK 2
New mum Claire appears to be struggling to manage her return to performing this week, and the demands of motherhood, with her marathon training. With new baby Penny being unwell and struggling to feed, stressed out Claire is trying to stay positive.
Claire is flat out. This week she returned to the stage for the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Last week, she was in Perth. Throw in a few sideshows (read: late nights) and a newborn bub (read: early mornings), and we can’t help but feel pretty impressed with how she has also managed to fit in marathon training, too.
Still, like any new mother, Claire has made it work, fitting in exercise around her busy schedule.
Claire proving every little step – er, lift – counts.
The joys of being on the road.
Claire’s Fitbit showing off some pretty impressive results.
And yet, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Baby Penny has been a difficult feed this week, and Claire cannot help but wonder: is it the training that is causing trouble? Bad weather also thwarted training attempts in Perth and resulted in a donut binge. Oh, and then this happened:
Claire has been remaining her usual bubbly and confident self, regardless of the shaky start, and has taken on her personal training, and running of her own, with the enthusiasm of a pro.
Claire might have more on her plate than the rest of our team – namely, a stage career and a baby – but if she keeps up her hard work, we have a feeling this mama might just surprise us on the day.
After all, what’s 21km after going through childbirth?
CHECK IN: WEEK 3
Week three was one of ups and downs for Melbourne comedienne Claire. Like many working mums, she has found herself burning the candle at both ends, with the late nights of the Melbourne Fringe Festival paired with early (very early) mornings with baby Penny.
Indeed, the exhaustion well and truly caught up with Claire when she had a slight meltdown during training with Becky.
Training was tough this week for new mum Claire.
But it was going to take more than that for plucky Claire to give up. Her resilience in the face of adversity shone through again in week three as Claire picked herself up and pushed through some fantastic training runs.
Great results for Claire in week three.
Slow and steady wins the race, Claire!
And yet, it was her trademark humour that shone through as she struggled with maintaining a routine of healthy eating and exercise. Well, you know what they say – if you’re not laughing, you’re crying (during squat tracks).
If only the Fitbit recognised crawling, Claire – then you might be even.
Will funny lady Claire succumb again to her exhaustion – or be laughing all the way to the finish line?
CHECK IN: WEEK 4
In the final week before the marathon, the emotion and exhaustion of the past three weeks seemed well behind Claire as she prepared for race day. But, the time-poor new Mum is still behind the others in her training hours: will last minute nerves get the better of her?
Claire has made no secret during the last few weeks of training that she is nervous about the marathon. In her interview with news.com.au, Claire says,“I’m totally nervous. I’ve got sore hips, a sore ankle, and I’ve got a day to get them right.” With pregnancy well known to cause looseness in the joints, Claire faces the very real prospect of injury during the race.
Alas, a late delivery in the week of new running gear was the mood boost she needed – and it must have worked, as she set a new person best mid week, recorded on her Fitbit!
Nothing like new running gear to have you feeling race-ready!
Great results for a busy working mum.
Outwardly, Claire has got her game face on – sporting some bold new sportswear to let the rest of the runners know who’s boss! But, as she posted a shot of her getting the tram home from a jog instead of running like she usually does, we can’t help but wonder – is there trouble behind her confident façade?
#GenBetter….or Gen Better Than You?
Just not enough fuel in the tank to make the run home, Claire?
With race day finally here, Claire has a huge task ahead of her. With the media watching and her body showing hints of injury, comedian Claire has talked the talk – but will she be able to walk the walk? Or will the drama of the day cause her nerves to interfere?
Claire Hooper finished the race in 2 hours, 35 minutes. She placed at #8598, and was last heard saying she is "the best person she knows right now." We agree, Hooper.
Follow Claire on Twitter here.