Going the Distance: Professor, Students Complete Half Marathons Together

By Jake Weber

Baker, history professor Marcy Sacks, Dobbins and Lizzy Thornton, ’09, at the 2011 Grand Ledge half marathon.From left: Economics and management professor Vicki Baker, history professor Marcy Sacks, Caroline Dobbins, '12, and Lizzy Thornton, ’09, at the 2011 Grand Ledge half marathon.

Baker and Arey crossing the finish line together at the 2011 Dexter-Ann Arbor half marathon.Baker and Ryan Arey cross the finish line together at the 2011 Dexter-Ann Arbor half marathon.

Baker, arey and Dobbins at the Dexter-Ann Arbor half marathon.

Baker, Arey, and Dobbins at the Dexter-Ann Arbor half marathon.

Albion College faculty have a distinguished reputation of care for their students, attending sporting events and arts performances, supporting fundraisers, even opening their homes for class gatherings. Economics and management professor Vicki Baker has "gone the extra mile" – several hundred miles, in fact – with students. Baker has joined students Ryan Arey, '11, and Caroline Dobbins, '12, to run three half-marathons and enjoy a "uniquely Albion" teacher-student collaboration.

Arey, a communication studies major with a management minor, discovered during a class with Baker that both of them were novice runners. "We knew that having company was a good way to keep at it," said Arey. The two ran together during the spring 2010 semester, and entered the Borgess half-marathon in Kalamazoo that spring.

In the spring of 2011, the two decided to train together for the Dexter-Ann Arbor half marathon in June. Economics and management student Caroline Dobbins, '12, joined them for that race, during which Arey and Baker crossed the finish line together. "We kept telling each other, 'Go on ahead,' but we stuck together," recalled Arey. "I think that shows a lot of dedication and loyalty. It was really hot and we just had to do it together."

"We were chatting one day and I told Vicki how cool it was that she was doing a half-marathon and how that was my goal someday," said Dobbins. "She convinced me to sign up for the Dexter-Ann Arbor half-marathon with them and the rest was history. Like a lot of things in my college career, a little push from Vicki Baker was all it took."

A few weeks following the Dexter-Ann Arbor race, Baker and Dobbins, joined by history professor Marcy Sacks and Lizzy Thornton, '09, ran a half marathon in Grand Ledge (Arey was out of town). Sacks, who has run the Boston Marathon several times, won her division, while Baker took third in hers. "It's nice to work with students outside the classroom," said Baker, who also served recently as interim director of the Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management. "It's crucial to have balance, and one way to achieve that is through exercise … and working together helps us all stay motivated."

"It's yet another example of how Albion is unique and how professors really care about their students in and out of the classroom," said Arey. "We like the sense of accomplishing something together."