Running through the mind of Blake Baker

Baker+sprints+to+a+third+place+finish+at+the+Oscar+Grant+Invitational+on+September+2%2C+2021.

Baker sprints to a third place finish at the Oscar Grant Invitational on September 2, 2021.

Being a member of a sports infused family, Blake Baker has always been encouraged to try out new sports. For over ten years, Blake struggled to find a sport that he was passionate about. That is, until seventh grade, when he took on the trails, roads, and track as a cross country runner.

Running is a common trend in the Baker household. 

Blake explained, “ My Dad and brother did cross country so I thought I would give it a shot.”  

Blake was hesitant to join the team, for his first season did not go as smoothly as he planned. Blake found himself in the back of the pack, and it seemed that everyone else was finding more success than him. This same trend followed into the track season where he continued to be frustrated with his performance.

Blake claimed, “Seventh grade year I was really bad.” 

Despite another difficult season with rather poor results, Blake knew that running was his calling, and he began to take his training much more seriously.

Blake said, “I thought to myself, I could be good at this, so I trained harder in eighth grade and got a lot better.”

Blake began to spend hours not only on courses running and perfecting technique, but also on research. In addition to studying his own time and placement, he studies all of the other top runners from exactly where and when they earned their best time. This knowledge is what he uses to his advantage as when he runs his own races, he pinpoints all the runners that he will be close in time to, and he will use that group to either pace himself or strategize to beat them.

Blake explained his thought process for races, “I know who this [a runner] is, he is around my skill level, I should try and stay with him”. 

He increased his mileage and truly dedicated himself to the sport. By the end of summer, Blake was in front of many of the runners who had beaten him the prior year. Every meet he saw more improvement which led to success as a runner his eighth grade and high school seasons. 

Now he breathes the sport as he currently shoots for state. His fastest time at this point of time is 16:20.80 minutes which is a potential qualifying time. Currently, Blake is the fourth fastest sophomore in Ohio over the distance of 5 kilometers. With around a month remaining in the cross country season and a whole track season ahead of him, Blake intends to better his running strategy and hopefully qualify for state.