Luke Baker played a lot of football in his youth but injuries, niggling, nagging and serious led him to give the game away in his mid-20s when, like many a lapsed footballer before him, his weight soared to 100 kilograms.
“I knew I had to do something about it, but nothing happened until I moved from Murtoa to Halls Gap a few years ago and did a lot of hiking to prepare myself to start running again.”
Since joining the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club last year, his weight has plummeted to 78 kg and after notching his maiden win with the club at Concongella four weeks ago he backed that up with a win at his next start in the Axis Employment Handicap at Stawell last Saturday.
“That was the quickest five kilometres I’ve ever run,” Baker said after the race, pleased with his time of 24.42 on a puddled cross country course, but somewhat nonplussed by back to back wins.
“I can’t believe I’ve turned twenty years of inactivity into this,” the forty-four-year-old said.
“With all the injuries I’ve had, a knee reconstruction, shin splints, plantar facia (heel soreness), achilles and stress fractures , I now suffer from treatment fatigue. I think it was all caused by being stuck in an office all day and doing nothing to keep the body in good running order.”
As part of his preparation for the Axis, Baker ran 18 giddying kilometres around North Park (Stawell), checking for proper body alignment and balance.
“It was all part of a plan to run on a flat, smooth surface to make sure that my body is in symmetry and that my foot strike is consistent,” he said, as if fearful of further injury ahead.
He ran with swollen feet on Saturday, but with the confidence of a win and race fitness under his belt, Baker had almost half-a-minute to spare from David Hunter with the consistent Terry Jenkins a close third.
In the Sub Juniors race, Olivia Hunter turned the tables on last start winner Jerome Baker with Chloe Hunter third.
The club meets at Stawell’s Rifle Range Road this Saturday for the ten kilometre Run for Ray (Scott).
Fun runners are invited to register for a 10am start.