Run­ner on marathon quest

The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BAY­LEY MOOR

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.

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