Runner dedicates Masters Games event to World War I uncle

Wendy Baker who competes in the women’s cross country at the World Masters Games later this month.


An inaugural Massey University Blues Sportsperson of the Year Blues winner will have more than just running on her mind when she competes in the cross country event at the  World Masters Games.

Wendy Baker was a joint winner of the blue for sportsperson of the year in 1987, and 30 years later is competing at the games in memory of her uncle William Tarode Baker who was killed at Passchendaele in World War One.

Her cross country run is being held in the grounds of the Auckland Domain, home of the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Remembrance Wall which carries her uncle’s name.

William Baker, who came from Otahuhu, was in the NZEF Auckland Regiment 1 Battalion.

Ms Baker hails from a family with a strong war service tradition, as aside from her uncle, her father Ted Baker served in Italy in World War II while as a young woman her mother Barbara learned war-time survival techniques at the side of her grandmother who was an air raid patrol warden.

“It’s a heartfelt run. I watched my father march in Anzac parades for 40 years and want to do this for my uncle too.”

Baker, who also writes war poetry,  will read one of her own poems at the Mount Maunganui Anzac Day service five days before her Masters Games event.

When Ms Baker was at Massey she completed a Diploma in Horticulture, was secretary of the harriers club and received sports blues for harriers and cross country.

Over the years she has been placed in more than 90 of the 140 plus events she has competed in.

"Winning is good but participating is better," Ms Baker says.


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