Becky Baum was born and raised in Anderson, Indiana. Her high school years were pre Title IX – meaning there were no high school sports opportunities for girls. After high school she attended Ball State University. It was there, during her junior year, she read about the exercise benefits of jogging. So, she decided to give it a try. Becky’s first run consisted of two circuits around the track; soon, running would become a part of her everyday routine.
After graduating from Ball State, she went to graduate school at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. There she earned a Master of Science Degree in Math. Eventually, she began teaching math at Lincoln Land Community College. Becky continued running nearly every day, but few people knew. Running was just something she did to stay in shape.
In 1977, another instructor at LLCC, who was also a runner, suggested Becky check out a new group in town, the Springfield Road Runners. He said they had fun runs in Washington Park on Sundays. After nine years of running, that was the first opportunity Becky had to run in a timed event. Becky says, “Everyone was friendly, and people seemed to be impressed with her running.” Labor Day of that year, a few of her new running friends invited her to go to Pana to run in a race. Becky went – and ended up winning the women’s division of the 4-mile race! Ever since then, she has been hooked on racing!
Becky ran her first marathon in May of 1978 in Terre Haute, Indiana. Her goal was to qualify to run the Boston Marathon. On top of doing that, she won the women’s division of the race in a time of 3:09:22.
Over the years, Becky has run 170 races and completed 18 marathons. Of the marathons she has run, Becky has won the women’s division in 7 of them, came in second 3 times, and was the first female master once. Becky’s fastest marathon was the St. Louis Marathon in December of 1983 in a time of 2:50:06. Becky won the women’s division and qualified for the 1984 Olympic Trials Marathon. Seven of Becky’s marathons have been run in under three hours! Impressive!
In one memorable week, Becky actually ran 113 miles! Becky’s running today and for the past 15 years or so, doesn’t include nearly as many miles. Her total mileage for most weeks is 15 to 25 miles, and most of the races she runs are 5 miles or less in distance.
Becky is proud of the fact that she is still very competitive in her age group (60-64) at the national level. In 2007, she won a gold medal in the 5 km road race at the National Senior Games in Louisville in a time of 21:39 on a hilly course and set a new National Senior Games record. In 2008 at the Illinois Senior Games, Becky ran the 1500 meter race in 5:47, which was the fastest time in the country last year for her age group. Becky also set a new age-group course record at the Canal Connection 10 km in a time of 44:56, breaking the old record by 39 seconds.
For the coming year, Becky hopes to run in at least one National Senior competition. So don’t be surprised to see her out on the roads, on the hills, or even at the track.
Some of Becky Baum’s Personal Records:
2 mile 11:30 Women’s Distance Festival Jul 1981
5 km 18:23 Decatur Turkey Trot Nov 1986
4 mile 23:26 Steamboat Classic Jun 1987 (age 40)
10 km 37:42 Abe’s Amble Aug 1987 (age 40)
Marathon 2:50:06 St. Louis Marathon Dec 1983