As the president of our Toledo market, Bob Baxter recognizes that quality health care is delivered by a hard-working team determined to serve the community.
Hard work and determination. It’s a mantra that Bob uses not only in the office but when he’s out pounding the pavement as well. Literally.
In fact, it’s what ultimately led Bob to the starting line of the Boston Marathon on April 18, 2022.
“I was never an athlete in high school or college – I was in debate, of all things – and was never particularly athletically gifted,” Bob recalls. “When I first started running, I never thought I could do a marathon. It is a demonstration of the power of hard work and determination that can take you even farther than God-given gifts.”
The Boston Marathon is not only the world’s oldest marathon, debuting in 1897, but it also is ranked among the best-known road racing events across the globe. And for those who are determined enough to qualify, it represents the 26.2-mile culmination of months – maybe years – of hard work and training.
“Over the years I ran in several marathons, all with the ultimate goal of qualifying and eventually running the Boston Marathon,” Bob shares. “So, when it was time to actually do it, I made sure that I enjoyed it as much as possible and really appreciated where I was.”
Although the marathon is open to all runners, only those who meet strict qualifying standards will make it to the starting line on race day. This means that the road to the Boston Marathon is a very personal one. It can be filled with years of training and many medals in qualifying marathons along the way.
As a leader in the health care industry, Bob notes that physical health and wellness has always been a priority in his life. Running has always been a love and a passion for him. So, it only made sense to marry the two and put in the work to bring home a Boston Marathon finisher’s medal.
For Bob, this meant long runs on treadmills after board meetings or sneaking in some miles before meeting with key stakeholders on how to best offer health care services to the greater Toledo community.
Bob started running in earnest 15 years ago and has since completed 20 full marathons. During those years, he also spent hours and hours running for enjoyment or racing shorter distances. It truly became a lifestyle and one that he credits for helping him for bringing his best self to all areas of his life.
“Running is not only good for physical health, but also mental health,” Bob shares. “Also, there is a significant reliance on time management. Training, in addition to the demands of work and family life, requires you to be organized and disciplined.”
To aspiring runners, Bob offers words of encouragement, both on and off the racecourse.
“One great thing about running is it’s one of the most accessible activities out there,” he says. “All you need is a good pair of shoes. So, just start doing something and remember you are your own worst critic.”
Also, take it at your pace. If you can’t sprint, run. If you can’t run, jog. If you can’t jog, walk. It’s more about developing a routine than it is getting to your maximum heart rate! Finally, don’t be afraid to meet with a physical therapist about your form. Injury prevention can help make this a lifetime activity.”
Bob recognizes runners may never get through the streets of Boston on marathon day – and many may never have a desire to – but he said that completing this race only inspired him to continue down his chosen path toward well-being. With the help of our running specialists at Mercy Health’s physical and outpatient therapy programs, he was able to power through aches and pains to achieve his goal.
So, what’s next?
“Running is a great way to meet like-minded people, see the country and experience communities/parks/outdoors in a unique way,” Bob says. “It’s a very different experience than driving through them, for example. So, my plan is to experience some new communities and areas of the country through running.”
Learn about the orthopedics and sports medicine services we offer at Mercy Health.