Vaughn cashing in his road miles for Hawaii trip

July 24, 2005|By ANDY MASON

It's been almost 40 years since Wayne Vaughn was dealt the bad news during his freshman year in college.

Due to complications from spinal meningitis, he needed to have brain surgery.

"I was told that I had a 50-50 chance of pulling through, and then another 50-50 chance of ever running again," said Vaughn, who, a year earlier, had won a title at the 1964 Maryland State Cross Country Championships as a senior at South Hagerstown.

"I'm living, and I'm still running."

Vaughn, 59, of Hagerstown, still is recording every stride. After his 5-mile run Wednesday morning, Vaughn said he had run 114,946 miles over the last 42 years, 10 months and 20 days.

He'll only need to fly a small fraction of that distance to get to his next race.

Vaughn is set to compete in the 55-59 age group at the 2005 USA Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Hawaii. He'll race in the 5,000-meter run on Aug. 4, the 10,000 on Aug. 6 and, if he's up for it, the 1,500 on Aug. 7.


Vaughn, who said he has run twice a day nearly every day since high school, began upping his mileage even more this past spring to prepare for the championships, logging as many as 70 miles per week.

He likes his chances in the 10,000.

"I think my best chances at winning anything will be in the 10K," said Vaughn, a retired physical education teacher. "The faster the pace, the worse chances I have. I know I can run a 10K in about 40 minutes, and that should give me a good chance of winning."

Vaughn said two of his career victories stand out from the many others. In 1967, he ran a meet-record 14:02.4 for 3 miles to win a Junior Olympic regional track title in Norfolk, Va., and in 1972, he won a marathon in Canton, Ohio, in 2:36:28.

His trip to Hawaii will be his farthest journey away from home. He said he doesn't plan to spend it sight-seeing.

"I want to go over there again," Vaughn said. "This time it's more about running. I won't have time to do anything else.

"Some people say they'd never go that far to run a race, but ... I'm a born competitor. I like to compete."

His love for running even might have saved his life all those years ago.

"The main reason I think I pulled out of it was because I was in such good shape," Vaughn said of his brain operation. "I was in the best running shape of my life. I don't know what would have happened to me if I was just an average person."

Andy Mason is assistant sports editor of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at

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