Runner's Spotlight on Gail Baker

Editor’s Note: Gail Baker works at RWJBarnabas Health, generous sponsor of the 2017 Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon & Half Marathon Saturday Kids and Family Festival and 5K. RWJBarnabas Health is fielding more than 100 runners in the marathon, half marathon, and half marathon relay. Gail offered to share her story as part of our New Jersey Marathon “Runner’s Spotlight,” a focus on the training, trials, and triumphs of New Jersey Marathon participants. Look for more features in the coming weeks.

Here is Gail’s story:

“I have always loved exercise and being active for as long as I can remember. Working out, pilates and stretching has been an important part of my life. As a survivor of cardiac arrest sudden death in 2005, I feel even more empowered and driven to continue to work towards the betterment of my health, fitness, and overall wellness through running!

“I started running in the beginning of 2014, when I encouraged my daughter to start as well. She had gained some weight and I thought this would be a good way for both of us to be healthier and spend time together. Lexi wasted no time and was off and running and I trailed right behind her, wanting to push myself to get faster and stronger to be able to keep up and run with her. Our first race together was the NJ Marathon Weekend 5K in 2014. We had the best time!! It was a cold and rainy morning but by the time the race was finished, the sun came out and we celebrated the rest of the weekend! When we saw the large display of beautiful, shiny medals all set up at the finish line we were SO hooked! I was so proud to be able to share such a special moment with her and in Long Branch, NJ, where my family lives and where we spend our summers.

“In the last three years, we have run dozens of races together and our medal collection has grown quite a bit! With each race, we make new memories and traditions and challenge each other to do better! We have even made some great running friends along the way. In 2015, we trekked all the way to Nashville, TN for the Rock n Roll Marathon Weekend where my daughter completed the half marathon and I ran the 5K. In addition, to race in Nashville, we raised over $2,000 for St. Jude which made the weekend even sweeter! We were so proud! We left Nashville with four new medals, an appreciation of country music, and Adam, my daughter’s boyfriend!

“This April, as we run our fourth New Jersey Marathon 5K together, I am proud to have made such great strides in both my personal health and wellness but also in my daughter’s. And this year, Adam will be running along side Lexi and I in Long Branch, which is very exciting! Now that it has been over 10 years since my cardiac arrest, I feel so much stronger, happier, healthier, and full of love for my life, family and the sport of running.”