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Name: Jess Baker
Team member, Born to Run
When Jess finished Uni and moved to China 6 years ago to teach English, her passion for football had to find a new outlet - running!
Buoyed by the early thrills of racing down sandy mountains and swinging between trees in Hong Kong's King of the Hills Series, when Jess moved to Sydney nearly 5 years ago she sought out a local running club and found Sydney Striders. Missing a turn on a 20km run, she found herself running 32km instead, and an irrepressible love of the long run was born.
It seemed that Baker might have truly come into her own one week in November 2011, the week that she received her PhD in child psychology and ran the second fastest women’s time ever recorded in Australia’s toughest 176km trail race. But in early 2012 she revisited the Great North Walk with her friend and occasional competitor, Meredith Quinlan.
Running the entirety of this rugged trail from Newcastle to Sydney - over 250km, with a recommended trekking time of 10 days - they broke the course record by over 11 hours, reaching the city in less than 55 hours, with a total of 40 minutes sleep their only respite en route. It was a truly significant achievement, with Baker having run over 240km in Chile's Atacama Desert as part of Team Born to Run only 2 weeks before.
In addition to conquering the 4 Deserts in 2012 and the 5th Desert in July 2013, upcoming races for Jess include The North Face 100 in the Blue Mountains, and the World 24-Hour Rogaine Championships in Czech Republic. Fast gaining popularity globally, rogaine is best described as self-directed orienteering.
Formally, Jess has a First Class Honours BSc in Applied Psychology from Cardiff University, Wales. She completed her PhD at Macquarie University by scholarship. She is currently an Ambassador for the University's Centre for Emotional Health, where she also works as a researcher.
She is hot.