His grandfather recently returned from running the Boston Marathon.
His father, ran the 10-km leg of the Furry Tail Endings Foot Race on Friday, to help map out a new route for today’s fundraiser.
His little brother, Levi, as well as his cousins and several other family members took part in the annual spring fundraiser.
And, several more family members were on hand to offer moral support.
But out of the large Baker-family delegation present for the third annual walk/run event for Langley Animal Protection Society, it was Isaac Baker who stole the show.
The 14-year-old runner, a Grade 8 student at Elgin Park Secondary in Surrey, once again emerged the victor. This was his third consecutive first-place finish in the charity foot race held Sunday at Derby Reach Regional Park.
“Conditions were pretty good,” Isaac said, having literally just completed the run.
Some of the gravel for the first kilometre was a bit soft and, therefore, hard to push off from, and there were a few hills that proved challenging along the route, he said. But, Isaac soared in well ahead of his nearest competitor with a time of 43:08.
“I wasn’t allowed to go too fast, because I’ve got the regional track meet this week,” Isaac explained at the end, still trying to catch his breath. “I’ve got to have fresh legs for that.”
It seems Isaac comes by his love of and abilities to run naturally. While his dad, Sean Baker (former executive director and now CFO for LAPS) is a runner, so too is his grandfather.
Philip DuQuesnay, 65, is Isaac’s grandfather – his late mother’s dad – and one of Isaac’s inspirations for originally take up running.
While the Baker clan has always brought out a large contingent to the Furry Tail Foot Race, their brood accounted for only a segment of the crowd who came out despite rain to participate and show support for the cause.
“We have had an amazing turn out today. Our biggest turn out to date, 138 runners and walkers, and a whole pile of dogs,” said LAPS executive director Jayne Nelson.
One of the newbies to the foot race was Carolyn MacLaren, a LAPS director.
“We’ve had record numbers this year. And this is my first year coming out to do it. I left my dogs at home, but brought my husband,” she said, crossing the finish line just minutes ahead of him.
“I’ve come out to support LAPS and their fundraising efforts, of course. It’s a great run, a great location, and we’ve drawn lots of people from all over the place,” MacLaren said.
She insists public events such as this are about much more than just fundraising.
MacLaren is anxious to draw increased awareness to LAPS, not only as a shelter, but as an animal advocacy organization that also has a strong focus on education and community outreach.
That said, the race remains one of the key fundraisers each year for LAPS, which must generate through donations about a third of its annual $1.2-million operating budget, Nelson explained.
“Fundraising is one of the most difficult things we have to do,” she elaborated, noting that LAPS has some “tremendous” and “kind” donors who come forward in big and small ways and keep contributing year after year.
But this event is one that allows individuals, and many people who haven’t been part of the LAPS support team through the years, to also help out.
“We’ve had some great fundraisers working on our behalf, so I think we’re looking at raising about $10,000 this year. Pretty exciting,” Nelson said.
The top fundraising prize this year, for instance, is going to Lauralee Porter of Langley. She raised $1,600 in pledges, the largest ever.
“She knocked it out of the park,” Nelson said. “And with everyone doing whatever they can, it enables us to reach” the organization’s annual fundraising goal.
While all the money raised by LAPS goes to help the abandoned or neglect animals that come into care at the Patti Dale Animal Shelter in Aldergrove, part of the money from this year’s foot race is specifically earmarked towards operation of the new cat intake and isolation centre that opened earlier this month.
• video to come