What do you do if you’ve been training for a marathon—your first—and it gets cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
If you’re Kaitlyn Baker, you turn it into an opportunity to raise funds for the Huntsville Hospital Foundation.
Baker has been training since January for the Ottawa Marathon, which was set to take place on May 24. Instead of deferring the race to later date, the event has gone virtual.
“Because they changed the platform to virtual and set up fundraising pages… I reached out to the Huntsville Hospital Foundation about running locally for them,” said Baker.
“I just want to give back to the community that’s given me so much. I grew up here and was both born at Huntsville Hospital and had my son at Huntsville Hospital,” she added. “I’m blessed to have many outstanding health care professionals in my life and know we are fortunate to have a fantastic hospital in our town that won’t exist without support.”
This may be Baker’s first marathon, but she is no stranger to endurance sports. She has been seriously training for triathlons for the last five years. She enjoys competition and has always been competitive in some way or another through horseback riding or Nordic skiing.
“I like to challenge myself and push myself to see what I’m capable of. There’s always room to improve in sport. I started to fall in love with the endurance portion of the sport and particularly the running during my time training. I am a half decent swimmer, a passable biker, but I can hold my own on the run and it has landed me on several podiums over the years,” she said.
In 2017, Baker competed in her first half-marathon and in the summer of 2018 she completed her first half Ironman, the Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant.
But then she was sidelined by injury. “I spent the better part of the fall of 2018 and spring 2019 nursing a major injury and thanks to some amazing local physiotherapists, I ran a major personal best at my second half-marathon in Toronto. This basically was the bug that made me want to try the full distance,” said Baker.
Baker is a member of MARS (Muskoka Algonquin Runners) and TriMuskoka, which inspires her to keep striving for her goals as she trains alongside amazing local athletes who, as she says, “Keeps crushing it out there!”
“We live in a town just full of talented people and our athletes are no exception,” she added. “So, I am drawing from their experience and using them as my inspiration to run my own self supported marathon.”
Baker will run on either May 23 or May 24, choosing the date with the best running weather. Her route will include sections of Muskoka Road 3, Old North Road, Main Street, Hwy 60, and Canal Road to complete the full 42.2-kilometre marathon distance.
“I will drop bottles at friends’ driveways along the way as my ‘aid stations’ but aside from that, it will be completely self-supported,” said Baker.
Keep your eye out for her on the weekend of May 23-24 and cheer her on.
To make a donation, go huntsvillehospitalfoundation.ca/ways-to-give and choose “Kaitlyn’s Run” in the designation field.
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