When Jennifer Clark went vegetarian, her mother was afraid she would die.
Clark didn't die, or turn into a 98-pound weakling. Instead, she became so fit that she's running in her third Philadelphia Marathon tomorrow.
Clark, 33, now a vegan, is one of 25 vegans and vegetarians from Philadelphia and the suburbs running as an unofficial team tomorrow for the Humane League of Philadelphia. Vegetarians eat no meat. Vegans eat no animal products at all, including dairy and eggs.
Clark, an engineer who lives in Center City, said she's always been an animal lover, but in college took a class in which she learned about "factory farming," the mass production of animals for slaughter that she said takes place in crowded, inhumane conditions.
Clark's been a vegetarian for 10 years and a vegan for two. At the same time, she has participated in triathlons and done a "half-Ironman" course, a 1.2-mile swim, 58-mile bike ride and 13-mile run.
Tomorrow will be her fourth marathon, her third in Philadelphia. Although she's never in the front of the pack, "I've finished every one that I started," she said.