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Baker, Baker… Heart Racers

When Sarah Baker’s blood starts pumping at this year’s ASB Auckland Marathon – as part of the Heart Foundation’s Heart Racer team – she’ll be able to turn her head to look her inspiration in the eye, with her dad, Nigel Baker running at her side.

Wayne Martin, Howick and Pakuranga Times

Nigel, 54, survived a heart attack part-way through the 2016 Kerikeri Marathon – which was followed by a double bypass. Once he was back on his feet, Nigel was determined to finish what he’d started, so he signed up for the Kerikeri half marathon again, in 2017 – and this time round, he made it across the finish line.

Sarah, 29, was shaken by her dad’s heart attack and is extremely grateful to have the chance to run a half marathon with him. 

“I’m very, very lucky that he’s still here,” she says.

Inspired by her dad’s incredible comeback, Sarah joined the Heart Foundation’s Heart Racer team, to run her first half marathon at the ASB Auckland Marathon on 28 October, and officially take the marathon baton from her dad.

“Now he’s realised, ‘Maybe running is not the best thing for me anymore’. So he’s cutting back on it a bit, and I think he’s going to do one last run – which will be this one with me. Then he’ll go back to running for fitness and not pushing himself too hard. So I’ll do it, so he doesn’t have to!”

After Sarah decided to run in the ASB Auckland Marathon to carry on her dad’s legacy, she realised fundraising for the Heart Foundation was a perfect fit.

“I thought, ‘Why not? – I may as well do it for something’, and the Heart Foundation really means something to me.”

Sarah is going well with her fundraising for the Heart Foundation which will go towards heart research, as well as care and support for those living with heart disease.

In the countdown to race day, Sarah is making the most of training with her dad and says he’s a great source of inspiration and encouragement to achieve the goal time she has set for herself.

Become a Heart Racer at Wellington Marathon