Runner on marathon quest
A cardiac arrest might have forced Nigel Baker out of last year’s Kerikeri Half Marathon - but he’s back with vengeance and determined to finish this year’s event.
In his quest to cross the finish line, the Auckland man is also fundraising for the Northland Rescue Helicopter which helped save his life.
The 55-year-old’s last memory from the race last November was waiting at the 15km drink station for his friends to catch up, then just a couple of kilometres up the road, he suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed.
Fellow competitors took turns performing CPR, before the ambulance arrived. Baker was then transported to Whangarei Hospital, then on to Auckland Hospital by the Northland Rescue Helicopter, where he underwent a double bypass surgery.
Just 10 weeks after the operation Baker was up and running, and has slowly built up to running three or four times a week.
‘‘My cardiologist thinks I’m an idiot but you can’t let these things get on top of you and stop you from living,’’ Baker says.
‘‘I have to beat it. I want to thank everyone involved for making sure I am here today, and for the Northland Rescue Helicopter and ambulance staff who got to me so quickly.
‘‘That’s why I want to do something that will help others if they find themselves in my position.’’
You don’t think you’ll ever be the one to need emergency services, Baker says.
‘‘But without them there are many people who wouldn’t be around today. I won’t be able to complete the half marathon in the time I’d like, but I’m going to give it my best shot and then after that I might just stick to fishing.’’
The Northland Rescue Helicopter, based in Whangarei, has rescued 490 people this year. The trust’s chairperson Paul Ahlers says it is generosity like Baker’s that keeps its helicopters in the air.
‘‘We do this for the Northland community, and the community giving back so generously also means we can provide them with the best rescue service possible and keep operating long into the future,’’ he says.
The Kerikeri Half Marathon is on November 18.
To support Baker and the rescue helicopter visit givealittle.co.nz/ fundraiser/northlandrescuehelicopter
Nigel Baker is determined to finish this year’s Kerikeri Half Marathon after a cardiac arrest prevented him from completing last year.