By Carol Masshardt

(The next few weeks will profile the running team for the SBNH)

“I don’t want to sugar coat it. The dark, brutally cold morning runs can be tough, but then you see a sun rise, and I do it with all the other charity runners, so you get close and it’s worth it.”

Devin Baker, originally from Montpelier, Vt. has lived in Boston for three years. She is twenty-five years old, a soccer and basketball player in her youth and now a University of Vermont graduate and an accountant. It would be easy for Devin to enjoy the fullness of her young adult life without running several days a week and “long runs” of seventeen miles on a March weekend. But running is where so much of what she believes in comes together, and the meaning is about fortitude, family, and sense of community. Her efforts will benefit the South Boston Neighborhood House.

“My father, Newton Baker, has run Boston 8 times, and I ran with him in the Vermont City Marathon in 2022. I told him my whole life I hated running, and I never saw it in the cards for me, but that changed. He was diagnosed with leukemia, and even ran when getting treatment. I saw that it is a powerful thing to do to get you through things,” she said.

I wanted to run for and do the fundraising (a requirement for each charity runner) for an organization I could be involved with after the Marathon. I didn’t even know the Neighborhood House existed, but Susan Hurley, owner of   thought it would be a good match for me, and it is.

With energy to spare, Devin reached out to the local shops and bars in addition to friends and family. She also had the support of the coach provided through the Neighborhood House, Susan Hurley.

“It was great to connect with people I hadn’t seen in a while, but also had pleasure of seeing the generosity in the community,” she said. “I got twelve businesses to donate, and it was super fun, and heart-warming to see how many people were in my corner. I thought of running as a very individual event, but this, here, is really about community.”

She knows close up about sports injuries from her earlier athletics, and now is seeing her father manage his serious illness. Challenging goals seem to motivate and not deplete her. Perhaps this was learned long ago. Devin Baker agrees that she may take a little beach time this summer, but with that, she quickly adds that she will be chasing the next great goal.

“Proving yourself wrong is one of the best things I think you can do. I am imagining feeling pride and accomplishment, but also know I will be sobbing the last two miles. It will be with joy.”

(Special thanks to all the runners for the Neighborhood House, and best wishes in April!)


Devin Baker and her inspiration, father Newton Baker