Many of you know David Baker as KO’s history department chair and beloved teacher, but something you may not know is that in his spare time, Mr. Baker loves to run. He thrives while running with his kids around the neighborhood and also while competing in local races. More recently, however, Mr. Baker trained for one of the biggest races he’s faced yet: a 125-mile ultramarathon in Ireland.
Mr. Baker’s training schedule for this race was extremely intense and most likely would mortify the average person. “My official training started on January 1st, and it really consisted of about four to five runs a week,” he shared. Three or four of those runs were usually around ten miles long and the fifth run was considered his long run, which started at 12 miles in January but steadily increased to around 15 or 16 miles. This meant that by July and August, he was running around 65 miles per week. “Besides that, I tend to lift twice a week just to strengthen muscles and strengthen my core,” Mr. Baker added.
Because this training was so time-consuming and Mr. Baker didn’t want to lose time with his family, he tended to do his long runs after dinner, around 7:30 p.m. “The sacrifice of that would be waking up really early the next morning for school,” he said. “Sometimes I wouldn’t finish my run until around one in the morning and although it was good for sleep deprivation training, it was definitely draining.”
Eventually, the big racing day came; Mr. Baker, along with his brother Billy and father, flew to Ireland to compete in the ultramarathon. “The terrain was really diverse.” Mr. Baker said, “There were mountains, bouldery sections, and farm fields where you were going up and down these wooden stiles to get over sheep, coastal lines, wooded sections, forest sections, and I feel like I saw every climate to be seen in Ireland.”
In the end, Mr. Baker finished in 36 hours and 40 minutes. “That was longer than I anticipated, but for the amateur division, I finished in the top quarter, which is pretty good,” Mr. Baker said. He managed to run 120 of the 125 miles alongside his brother, which was an amazing experience for him. “My dad crewed us with a couple of friends, so that was also really cool because my dad got to spend some special time with his two sons, both on the trip and then during the race,” Mr. Baker said.
It was even posted on the marathon’s social media that the two American Baker brothers were running together which was such a unique thing, so whenever they would stop for food or water, it was almost as if they were ultramarathon celebrities.
Currently, Mr. Baker is feeling pretty sore, but all around, he is doing well. “When you do that many miles, you tend to give yourself blisters and other sores which take a few days to recover,” Mr. Baker said, “but luckily, I trained really hard for this race, so I think I’m recovering pretty well.”
Mr. Baker shared some advice about pushing yourself and taking risks. “I just feel like it’s important for people to know that something might seem impossible at first,” he said, “but if you’re willing to put in the time, effort, and courage to try it, you might surprise yourself in a really good way.”