Zac Clark

Ali on the Run Show Episode 554: Zac Clark, Co-Founder of the Release Recovery Foundation

“I was in New York, and I went out and I had this experience of watching people run this marathon, and I broke down. I was like, ‘Holy shit, this is the most powerful thing I’ve ever seen.'”

To legions of adoring fans, Zac Clark is known as the winner of Season 16 of The Bachelorette, who got engaged to Tayshia Adams. But today, we are getting to know Zac, beyond the Bachelorette. We meet the young Zac who grew up in New Jersey, and the Zac who discovered he had a brain tumor at 23 years old, and had to undergo emergency brain surgery. We meet the Zac who recovered from surgery — and became addicted to prescription painkillers. The Zac who had a rough few years after that. Who got a DUI, whose wife left him, and who spiraled. And the Zac who hit rock bottom one day, when he was saved by a bank teller.

Because of that bank teller, we get the privilege of knowing Zac today. The Zac who spent 4.5 months in rehab, and found recovery from addiction. Who not only joined the board of the rehab facility he attended, but who, in 2017, founded Release Recovery and the Release Recovery Foundation to help people through their own recovery journeys. And along the way, this Zac found running. Today, he is a 10-time marathoner who is currently training for his eighth New York City Marathon, and this month celebrates 11 years of sobriety.


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What you’ll get on this episode:

  • What Zac’s childhood was like, growing up in New Jersey (5:10)
  • On making apologies in recovery (9:35)
  • The day Zac discovered he had a brain tumor (11:00)
  • The road to rock bottom (16:15)
  • What Zac’s experience in rehab was like, what ultimately helped, and what leaving rehab was like (21:30)
  • How a newly-sober Zac found his people in NYC (26:40)
  • How Zac found running (31:00)
  • Zac’s creation of the Release Recovery Foundation run club (38:30)
  • How Zac reflects on his time on The Bachelorette (45:00)
  • What Zac’s New York City Marathon training is like right now (50:00)
  • What the Release Recovery Foundation does, and how the organization is directly helping people (58:50)

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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