A younger Gordon Baker vs a Senior Gordon with his wife Lyn. Photos: Supplied.

CMA saddened by Multiple Gold Medallist’s death, Gordon Baker

CMA recollected that Gordon Baker ran 9 Comrades Marathons between 1967 to 1975, earning a Top 6 position in eight of those races.


A younger Gordon Baker vs a Senior Gordon with his wife Lyn. Photos: Supplied.

The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has expressed sadness over the news of the passing of multiple Comrades Gold Medalist, Gordon Baker (Race Number 104).


A South African by birth, Gordon had emigrated to Esperance in Western Australia nearly two decades ago, where he reportedly passed away.
Gordon was a proud member of the Collegian Harriers Running Club. He ran 9 Comrades Marathons between 1967 to 1975, earning a Top 6 position in eight of those races, in an era when there were just 6 gold medals on offer.

Gordon’s Best Time was 5:42:53 in the 1973 Comrades Marathon when he claimed second place to Dave Levick.

“Our thoughts go out to the family, friends and running mates of Gordon. He ran an exceptionally good race, claiming the Top 6 positions in 8 Comrades Marathons (CMA) and coming so close to winning the 1973 edition of The Ultimate Human Race.”

CMA Chairperson, Mqondisi Ngcobo

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Nine-time Comrades Winner, Bruce Fordyce reflected on Gordon’s running career. “Modest, quiet, humble and self-effacing, Gordon was everyone’s favourite to win at least one Comrades title, and yet fate, and brilliant opposition conspired to prevent him from earning that precious win. Gordon lost to greats like Dave Bagshaw, Dave Levick, and Jackie Mekler.  I remember as a young boy listening to the radio broadcast of the race and always hoping that Gordon Baker would finally win a Comrades Marathon.”

Gordon Baker in his younger days. Photo: Supplied.

Bruce added, “But it was to be the 1973 Down Run where Gordon came so agonizingly close to fulfilling his dream. Defending champion, Mick Orton set a blistering pace from the start but towards the end, on 45th Cutting he slowed to a shuffle and Gordon Baker passed him to take the lead. With just less than 3 kilometres to run, Gordon was within sight of the stadium and in his words was ‘composing my victory speech’.” 

“But his seconds had barely any time to warn him of the approach of rapidly closing Dave Levick. With a tap on the back, Levick sped past and, knowing how desperately Baker wanted to win, offered an apology, ‘I’m sorry Gordon.’ It took a record-breaking run from Levick to beat Gordon Baker, and he too was under the old record.”

“I met Gordon Baker a couple of times in ensuing years, and it was always a pleasure to share his company. But perhaps our most intimate time together was when Gordon drove the lead bike at Comrades. Driving the lead bike in front and alongside me gave us the opportunity to chat very briefly. One comment of his is indelibly etched in my mind. As I climbed Polly Shortts he muttered, ‘Please don’t slow down Bruce I couldn’t bear to see what happened to me in 1973 happen to you, today’.”


Former CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn said, “Gordon Baker was a multiple Comrades gold medallist who also represented South Africa on multiple occasions in cycling. Apart from being an outstanding athlete, he was an avid adventurer, with an ever-enquiring mind, a great philosopher, wonderful human-being and mentor, but most importantly a close and dear friend to both my late husband Mick and I. He once saved the life of our 5-year-old son when he fell off a yacht in the middle of Midmar.”

“Gordon was truly a gentleman who personified the expression ‘salt of the earth’, a person of great kindness, goodness, honesty, wisdom and zest for life. He had an opinion on every subject, which he was humble enough to mostly keep to himself; but was always there to lend advice or a helping hand when called upon. Mick and I twice took a 13-hour bus trip across the Australian outback to visit Gordon and his wife Lynette in the small town of Esperance on the southern tip of Western Australia, where they retired twenty years ago and were delighted to discover that with their humble but positive attitudes, they continued to live life to the fullest.”


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CMA Elder, Brian Kurz said, “Gordon was not only an outstanding athlete with multiple golds but a valued, active and popular CMA member who continued to then serve with distinction on the executive of CMA until he emigrated to Australia. He will be remembered by older CMA executive members with great affection as an easy-going and very likeable friend who was always willing to continue with volunteering his services to CMA long after finishing his competitive running career”.