Lawrence Clarke (athlete)

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Charles Lawrence Somerset Clarke
Personal information
Nationality English/American
Born (1990-03-12) 12 March 1990 (age 27)
Westminster, London, England
Residence Paris, France
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 1 12 in)
Weight 77 kg (170 lb; 12.1 st)
Sport Running / Hurdling
Event(s) 110m Hurdles
Club US Créteil-Lusitanos (France), Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow Athletic Club[1] (England).
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 110m Hurdles (U20): 13.37
60m Hurdles: 7.59
110m Hurdles: 13.31/13.14w

Charles Lawrence Somerset Clarke (born 12 March 1990 in Westminster, London[2][3]), commonly known as Lawrence Clarke, is a professional 110m hurdler who notably finished fourth in the London Olympic Games 110m Hurdles Final. He is the son of Sir Toby Clarke, 6th Baronet and is the heir apparent to the baronetcy.[4] He served as Captain of the Great Britain Athletics Team at the 2015 European Athletics Indoor Championships and was coached in Bath by Malcolm Arnold OBE, the former coach of Colin Jackson CBE and John Akii-Bua.[5] He is currently coached in Paris by Giscard Samba Koundys.


Clarke was educated at two independent schools: at Summer Fields School in the city of Oxford in Oxfordshire,[6] and Eton College in the small town of Eton in Berkshire. He went on to study Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Bristol,[7] gaining a Second class honours, upper division (2:1). He studied at the University of Bath for a Masters in Management with a specialisation in UK Targeted Absolute Return Equity Fund Management.[8]


Clarke is the son of Sir Tobias Clarke, 6th Baronet. Clarke's maternal grandfather was the Conservative MP Somerset de Chair, son of Admiral Sir Dudley Rawson Stratford de Chair KCB KCMG KBE MVO. He takes his name Lawrence from his American ancestor Abbott Lawrence.[9] His uncle-by-marriage is Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg.[10] He is a descendant of the Roosevelt Family.

Junior athletics career[edit]

Clarke was in fourth place in the 110m hurdles at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, India. He was also the British University (BUCS) champion in the 60m hurdles (2009) with a time of 7.83 seconds and 110m Champion (2010) in a time of 13.85 seconds.[11]

Clarke held the No. 1 spot on the British All Time list for the Under 20 men's 3"3 110m Hurdles until 23 May 2010. He established a new National Junior Record with a personal best of 13.37 seconds whilst also winning gold at European Junior Athletics Championships in July 2009, in Novi Sad, Serbia. [4].[12][13]

Senior athletics career[edit]

In June 2010, Clarke won the UK National Under-23 Title in a wind-assisted time (+2.5 m/s) of 13.60secs.[14] He successfully defended this title in June 2011 in his season debut that year.

On 8 October 2010, Clarke won the bronze medal at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. He finished third behind two other English hurdlers: Andy Turner (2010 European Champion) and William Sharman. It is the first time in history that England have completed a 1-2-3 clean sweep in the 110m hurdles.[15]

Clarke became national champion when he won the UK Senior 110m hurdles title in 13.58s in July 2011,[16] earning him a place on the UK team at the World Championships in Daegu.

He competed at the 2011 World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea where he went out in the first round with a time of 13.65s (-0.2 m/s). The winner of his heat was Jason Richardson who went on to win the Championships after Dayron Robles, the 2008 Olympic Champion and World Record holder, was disqualified after the final.

2012 Olympic Games[edit]

On 24 June 2012, he achieved selection for Great Britain in the XXX Olympiad in London 2012.[17] He ran a new personal best of 13.31 (-0.5 m/s) in his Olympic Semi final on 8 August. As a result, he qualified as the only European for the 110m Men's Hurdles Final as a fastest loser. Running from lane 2 in the final he finished an unexpected 4th place with a time of 13.39 seconds beating the 2009 World Champion, Ryan Brathwaite, into 5th.[18]

Post London[edit]

He broke his wrist in the winter of 2012 followed by a series of hamstring tears that saw him miss high level competition in 2013.[19] He returned to International competition in 2014 finishing 8th at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Two weeks later he competed at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich only to tear his hamstring five minutes before the call room for the European Final.[20]

In March 2015 he was appointed Team Captain of Great Britain at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague.[21] He finished 5th in the 60m hurdles. That summer he competed at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing exiting in the semi-finals.

After the World Championships he made the decision to leave Malcolm Arnold OBE and Bath and moved to Paris to train with Giscard Samba Koundys and Dimitri Bascou.

He competed at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, USA in March 2016 just missing out on the Men’s 60m Hurdles final. His training partner Dimitri Bascou went on to win the Bronze medal.

In July 2016 he was selected to represent Great Britain at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Personal bests[edit]

Event Best Location Date
60 metres hurdles 7.59s Mondeville, France 7 February 2015
110 metres hurdles 13.31s London, England 8 August 2012
110 metres hurdles (wind assisted) 13.14s (+4.7 m/s) Madrid, Spain 7 July 2012

Championship Performances[edit]

Year Competition City Place Event Time
2008 Commonwealth Youth Games Pune 4th 110 m hurdles (99cm) 14 s 23
2009 European Junior Championships Novi Sad 1st 110 m hurdles (99cm) 13 s 37
2010 Commonwealth Games Delhi 3rd 110 m hurdles 13 s 70
2011 European Athletics Indoor Championships Paris 4th, SF 2 60 m hurdles 7 s 74
European Athletics U23 Championships Ostrava 3rd 110 m hurdles 13 s 62
IAAF World Athletics Championships Daegu 5th, Heat 2 110 m hurdles 13 s 65
2012 2012 Summer Olympic Games London 4th 110 m hurdles 13 s 31
2014 Commonwealth Games Glasgow 8th 110 m hurdles 13 s 84
European Athletics Championships Zurich DNS, Final 110m hurdles -
2015 European Indoor Championships Prague 5th 60 m hurdles 7 s 63
IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 8th, SF 3 110 m hurdles 13 s 53
2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 10th 60 m hurdles 7 s 65


Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Toby Clarke, 6th Baronet
in line of succession to Baronetcy
(of Dunham Lodge, Norfolk. cr.1831)
heir apparent