Meet Dr. John T (Doc) Baker: Trotting Through the Decades

Dr.  John T (Doc) Baker: Trotting Through the Decades

I was in my twenties when the YMCA Turkey Trot started. I had been running 4 to 5 miles a day ever since Dr Cooper’s book came out about Aerobics. So I figured that the “Trot” would be something fun to do. I already had commitments for a canoeing adventure in Mexico during the 1968 Thanksgiving, so I missed that one. However, I have missed only 2 since that time. I have participated in all but 3 trots through the years.

In the beginning, the YMCA Turkey Trot went around White Rock Lake. That loop was 8 miles, & was the reason it became an 8-mile event. After several years it moved to downtown & went across the Trinity River & back. I remember one year we had 3,000 runners & as I watched & ran across the river bridge I was amazed how there were SO many participants. And now it's 20,000-30,000. WOW!!

At first, I ran it alone. Then, when my two children, son Johnny JR, and daughter Shawn, got big enough, they ran with me, all through high school, college & beyond. Shawn’s Husband, David, has run with us for the past 14 years too. For 25 or more years, my friend Dr. John Kostohryz & his family came & joined us for the run, There would be 9 to 12 in our group every year.

Then last year, my only grandchild Scarlett participated for the first time. She was  4 years old. She ran the entire 3 miles. She is signed up to run again this time too, & she can hardly wait.

It’s been a wonderful adventure that I/we look forward to every year, & at 83, I sure hope that I can keep on doing it for a while longer. A few years ago (2015), I was included as one of the “Legacy” runners. The plaque is on the wall in the main YMCA office.

- John T (Doc) Baker


John and Shawn at the Turkey Trot