Father Thomas Baker, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Lancaster, conquered a windy course in Kona, Hawaii, at the Oct. 13 Ironman World Championship, crossing the finish line with a time of 13:33:36. Writing in the Sacred Heart parish bulletin about his Kona Ironman experience, Father Baker noted: “The course was trying because of the heat, humidity and wind, all of which I expected but which made the time slower than usual.“Also, I wasn’t racing but enjoying the journey. Thank you for all your love, support and especially your prayers. When I had the tough times, I used the rosary, my mantras and the faces of all those praying for me to help me move forward. What a blessing!”Christian Community Sister Madonna Buder, a retired 82-year-old nun from Spokane and a fellow competitor who has participated in more than 20 Ironman World Championships, said she believes that Father Baker is the first Roman Catholic priest to cross the finish line on Alii Drive in Kona, although Ironman officials do not track that type of data.Sister Buder qualified for Kona this year by completing Ironman Canada in August, becoming the oldest woman to complete an Ironman. The strong winds slowed her biking in Kona, however, and she was not able to make the bike cut-off time before the marathon segment of the competition. “She was happy that I had a good day and was pleased to meet my parents the day after the race,” said Father Baker, whose finish was announced with a flourish by Mike Riley: “Fifty-three-year-old Catholic priest Thomas Baker, Lancaster, CA! Thomas, you are an Ironman — congratulations! 13 Ironman finishes for Father Thomas Baker!"To see a video of Father Baker’s finish, log on to Ironmanworldchampionship.com. Then click Coverage; Ironman World Championship; Live Coverage; box Part 6 Ironman; and then scroll ahead to finish time of 13:33 to see his finish.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/1116/sfbaker/{/gallery}