When we asked people to submit their favorite Cameron Village memories as part of our Living History page, we received a ton of submissions. Many of them were about how people met their sweethearts.
One of our favorites was titled “Runner Boy” from Courtney Baker. Her husband is Jon Baker, the manager of Capital RunWalk. You can probably see where this is going. We interviewed Jon to get his side of the story.
A Passion for Running
Jon began running in high school as a way to stay in shape for soccer, his first passion. Then when he arrived at NC State, he didn’t play soccer at State but decided he would still run to keep stay fit.
When he graduated school in 2004, he wanted to stay in Raleigh because all of his friends were in the area. He decided to take a part-time job at Capital Run Walk, then Athlete’s Foot.
“My degree is in Sports Management so it is somewhat fitting. It was kind of on a part-time basis to start with while I looked for another job. Of course 12 years later, now I’m here,” says Jon.
This Running Group is Just Right
Around 2008, the company started hosting a 5k running program and because it was such a large group, Jon volunteered to help.
The running group is usually split up into three groups: a walking group, a walk-to-run group, and a time improvement group. Courtney, an experienced runner, was in the time improvement group. At the time, Jon was helping the middle group as a sub for a coach who had gotten sick.
“And one day (and I didn’t realize this at the time; I was completely oblivious to it), but she held back from the time improvement group to run in my group,” says Jon. “She was talking to me, flirting with me, and I had no idea.”
“She pretended to have a sinus infection to get back and said, ‘I can’t run in my normal group. It’s too fast so I’m going to run in this group.’ And I was totally clueless,” says Jon.
Jon and Courtney would chat after their runs. Jon ended up becoming her Facebook friend, then getting her number, and eventually asking her out on a date.
“I told the boss I wouldn’t ask her out until after the group was over because I wanted to be somewhat professional,” says Jon
Their first date was on May 23rd, of 2009 and Jon proposed three years later in late August of 2012.
“That’s kind of our thing,” says Jon. Running is a huge part of their relationship. They travel everywhere to run races. They ran together for the Rock & Roll Half Marathon this past year in which Courtney set a PR (go Courtney!). They’ve even been to Disneyworld to run races there.
“We do still run together. It’s a little hard to run together because I’m 6’4” and my wife is 5’2”. So she has to run a little bit faster and I have to slow down.”
The Red Running Shorts
One other thing we heard about in Courtney’s story was a pair of infamous red shorts. Of course we had to ask Jon about them.
“I was thinner back then than I am now. I had this little pair of red running shorts. And they’re kind of shorter shorts. And apparently, I looked pretty good in them. So, that was what drew my wife to me,” he says.
“I kept them as long as I could. They don’t fit anymore. The elastic is shot in them. But we saved them. They’re in the attic,” says Jon. “Those red running shorts even made it into our wedding vows. Apparently, they were good luck.”
If you’re interested in the possibility of meeting your very own “runner boy” or “runner girl,” and getting some exercise of course, Capital RunWalk has two fun programs going on right now:
On the fourth Saturday of every month, Capital RunWalk partners with Rise Biscuits & Donuts for a morning breakfast run.
And there is a fun run every Tuesday at 6pm.
And Capital RunWalk is currently looking for coaches to lead their training programs. If you’d like to help others get fit, give them a call.