every runner has a story
Meet Chris Baker
► From: Lake Wales, FL
► Started Running: 2019, at age 40
► Lakeland Runners Club 2022 Training Committee Chair
Little did Chris Baker know running was going to turn into a new lifeand totally change his life. He is in the best shape of his life now and he and his wife Kim have made some of the best friends through the Lakeland running community.
What is your favorite thing about being connected to LRC?
I am very proud that LRC puts on great events that accommodate runners of every pace and it’s all done 100% by volunteers. There really is no judgment. Just other people who love running, cheering each other on.
Why do you serve on the LRC board?
It means a lot to me to see kids, adults, faster runners, slower runners, all just getting out and moving. I love the programs and group runs that LRC provides to the community. I think they are the best part of the club.
What is your favorite running memory?
My favorite running memory is running the last mile and half of the 2020 Rotary Twilight 5k, neck and neck with Jose Almaraz. We had the best race and really pushed each other hard all the way to the finish line.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
In 2018 I was 70 pounds overweight and could hardly bend over and tie my shoes. I made the decision to get in better shape. Kim and I started out walking Lake Hollingsworth. Eventually I started running a little at a time, until I got up to a continuous mile. From there I just kept going. Anyone can do it. You just got to get up and start moving.
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Know a Runner We Should Meet?
Do you know someone from the Lakeland running community we should get to know better? There are so many amazing people in our community and we want to highlight them and share their enthusiasm for running or walking and being part of an active community.
Maybe it’s someone who has been inspirational to you, achieved an incredible goal, or demonstrated courage to start (or re-start!), or clearly lives the LRC mission to promote running in the community.
You do not have to be a LRC member to nominate someone. Nominating a person/group does not guarantee they will be featured. Preference will be given to current LRC members.
More To Explore
A two-time Olympica Marathon Trials Qualifer, Lakeland runner Jon Mott set a personal record (PR) 2:18:03 and won the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon on Dec 13, 2020. In 2017, Mott won the Detroit Free Press Marathon in 2:22. You can find Jon running the Lake Hollingsworth area most mornings and afternoons.
In 2012, a friend told Angi Griffin that it was so nice outside that they needed to walk Lake Hollingsworth instead of being stuck inside working out. They started meeting at the lake a couple of times a week. Angi was really intimidated being there because there were people running and we were walking. Some were even talking and laughing while they ran. After a couple of weeks, her friend said we should try running a little. That was a hard no for Angi. She didn’t run and didn’t like it, and besides, it might ruin her knees and she didn’t want to die (which she was sure would happen if she ran)! After a couple of more weeks went by, she started noticing there were some people much older than herself running. She decided she could try it and here we are today.
Kaelani completed all 10 LRC races in 2019, winning overall female at the Aching Quad Challenge and Double Down 5k, and placing in her age group in the other events. Leone also became a certified RRCA running coach in 2019, and volunteers with the LRC as a coach for the LRC Kids Run Club. In 2020 Kaelani trained for and completed her first marathon, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon, in 2:55:30.
Hoffert took a few years away from running after high school, and reconnected with the sport in 2013. In addition to being a RRCA certified running coach, Michelle has run the Boston Marathon twice and has Overall Female wins at Moon over Croom, the Pinellas Trail Challenge and X-Country 30k.