Thursday, June 10, 2010


I turned the tide in 1996. I was 16 and I was improving. That fall I had dropped my cross country 5k time to 16:50 (from 18:30 my freshman year) and then ran 2:07 for 800m that spring. Not stellar times by any means, but this was a turning point in my running career nonetheless as I now began to focus more on excelling in the sport and less on simply participating in it. I became a runner that year, especially that summer. I found guidance from a fellow named Dave Baker; a runner well into his 50s who could still crank out 28:30 for 5 miles. Dave would happily hop on his bike and pace me on 5 mile tempos (really "races") down busy Cape Cod roads. Tourists toting rum drinks would shake their heads as we blazed down Main Street. Dave became my "off season coach" though I don't think he ever knew it.

Sadly, Dave's lovely wife Marilyn passed away a few days ago after battling cancer. She was extremely kind and was one of those people who showed up at every race to volunteer in some way or another. She'll be missed by Cape Cod's running community. Below is a nice write up.

Marilyn Baker
HYANNIS — The family and friends of Marilyn Baker mourn her death and celebrate the abundance of life she shared with them. Marilyn spent the first half of her life in New Jersey, graduating from Bergenfield High School. The second half of her life was enjoyed on Cape Cod.

Twenty years ago, Marilyn married David Baker and welcomed his children, Dustin Baker and Courtney Baker Hurley, into her life. Marilyn joyously became "Gramilyn" to Courtney and Sean Hurley's children, Connor and Kiera Hurley. Marilyn will be sorely missed by her sister, Elaine Wittmann and her family as well.

Marilyn started in the restaurant business in New Jersey and continued on the Cape. She worked at the Captains Table, managed the Black Cat and Abici (now Lyric), and with her husband David, owned Sweet Waters Café, the Atlantic Clam House, and the Beech Tree Bar.

Marilyn began running in the 1980s and quickly discovered her talents by qualifying for the Boston Marathon and placing and winning her age category in others. With her husband, Marilyn and David became the dynamic duo known as "the Bakers" and became one of the all-time great running couples of Cape Cod.

When Marilyn was no longer able to run, she rowed! It was said that she "took to rowing like the proverbial duck to water." As a member of the Cape Cod Rowing Club, Marilyn was always ready to row, cox, help others learn, and share her new passion with all. She was a valued member of the rowing community who encouraged, inspired and contributed.

Marilyn's animals were nearby to the end, comforting her as she cared for them. Her cats and dogs were joys in her life, and the binoculars were never far away to enjoy the birds.

No matter what the setting, despite the challenges of cancer, Marilyn is remembered for her bright smile, her passion for life, and an inspiration for all. As David Baker stated, "Marilyn never had a cloudy day." Those around her benefited!

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