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The inspiring story of a Montpelier marathoner - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

The inspiring story of a Montpelier marathoner

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

If there's one word no marathoner anywhere ever wants to hear, it's stop. Newton Baker has been running marathons for half of his life without stopping.

"I was born to play and when I have to change, I change," Newton said.

His first major race was a 2-miler nearly 40 years ago. He finished and threw up. But on the way to his car that day, Newton realized he loved running.

Recently, the 75-year-old has been slowed by setbacks.

"I've become a pedestrian racer now," he said.

Newton survived prostate cancer in 2008, but he's currently living with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and a neurological disorder resulting in shaky speech.

"As long as I can be heard, I'll stagger through with it," he said.

"I don't think most people would push through all that," wife Diane said.

Running is what brought Diane and Newton together more than 25 years ago. Newton's marathons are all the Bakers' two children have ever known.

"Yup. Forever," daughter Devin said.

So that's why it came as no surprise to the Baker family when Newton decided to run across the country two years ago.

"For me, it just kind of made sense," Devin said. "It's what he's always loved to do and it's something that he has a super strong passion for. So, I said go for it. I knew he could do it. He has a pretty strong drive for running, doesn't give up easily."

"It's one of the most exciting things that has happened in our marriage is watching him pursue his dream," Diane said.

Newton started Jan. 13, 2015, in Huntington Beach, California, and finished five months later in Washington, D.C. He did 3,100 miles in 140 days. That's about 22 miles a day.

"We're meant to cover long distance," Newton said. "It's fun. It feels good. It's tiring and it's the people and runners that I meet that I think is the greatest enjoyment."

Sunday, Baker will participate in his 28th Vermont City Marathon. He's only missed one-- the year he ran across the country. But VCM officials let Newton's son, Silas, run in his place.

"And my son, like Newton, did it without any training and did well, true to his father's legacy," Diane said.

Newton is close to reaching 400 marathons in his lifetime and he has all the hardware to show it.

"As soon as he got home I would say, 'Where's the medals?' He'd always bring it out and show it to me," Devin said.

"2016 Vermont City, the year of the great heat wave," Newton said. "They had to shut the race down, but I did it all and the medal people gave me my medal."

With each foot in front of the other, Newton Baker continues to make strides.

"If you accept what you've got, then you figure out a way to keep going," he said. "I guess that's hard for some people. For me, it's the only way forward."

Newton just completed a 48-hour marathon last weekend in New Jersey, going 108 miles.

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