Saturday Spotlight- Erik Haughn

Name: Erik Haughn
Age: 28
Hometown: Port Jefferson Station
Marital Status: Single
Pets: A German Shepherd named Abby
Occupation: Special Education Teacher
I’ve only ever had to describe myself in writing once for a psych paper in college but as you all know I like writing long, corny or sappy posts so here goes nothing…
I grew up in a sports family with two very athletically gifted parents. My mom was basketball star and dad, who you all know (Bob Haughn), was a baseball stud on the mound. We have many old newspaper articles about the games he pitched in high school. Mom was used to beating guys until she found dad (at least that’s what I’m told lol). I love watching them both play softball growing up and just being a little kid running around at the games. My mom also worked at my pre school and camp so I got to see her play things like dodgeball, kickball and capture he flag with all my friends and counselors. Dad used to wake up early for runs (around 4 or 5 am) and I can remember always wanting to join him if I was up. It’s fun to look back at those runs now knowing he had to slow down for me ever few minute or so and then skipping ahead to now where I got him really into running the hills. Dad was also my soccer coach growing up, instilling a competitive drive in me to try and do better than him and all my competition that has still not left me to this day. I can honestly say I do not have two bigger fans in my life than my mom and dad. They ALWAYS made and still make me feel like they are proud of me everyday and I could not be more grateful for that. They are both the main reason that I am the man I am today. Without them I do not have the respect for those older than me that I do now. I also do not treat girls or anyone for that matter as well as I do without their lessons to guide me. They have always raised me to respect everyone, stand up for what I believe in and to just be an overall decent person in a world that lacks a lot of them. My drive to succeed in sports, school and my job are all thanks to the great support system I had back home. Always wanted to make them proud and use that today to understand why my own students do the things they do in and effort to get the same proud reaction from me.

Aside from my parents I have an older brother named Greg, who is literally one of the nicest people you could ever meet in your life. He is literally the type to give the shirt of his own back with no expectation of anything in return to the point where it sadly gets taken advantage of. Despite that he never changes who he is and I think that attributes to me being as nice as I am to others despite the outcome. We can’t change other people but we can always be the best version of ourselves because that is in our control and I think I learned a lot about that from him. I also have a younger sister name Lisa, who I have always called my first best friend. We were inseparable since her first day in this world and it was always known that anything I did, Lisa was surely right behind me to follow. This went for anything as simple as trying a new food, to joining Terryville soccer because she saw how much fun I had with it and just wanted to come along the ride with me. One thing I always envied from Lisa was her ability to not be shy and speak her mind. I couldn’t even compare to her level in this regard until college where I broke out a little bit. Obviously this quality of her’s sometimes annoyed me as a big brother and led to fights, however at the end of the day we always made up and I will forever have her back when she needs me most. I mean cmon, how cool is it to have someone always look up to you? And how can you even think about letting them down when they do so?

Moving on to sports and what got me into running. Aside from my entire family being athletes and me watching them play these games, I had to find out through my own attempts if I truly enjoyed the competition. Well, from day one of me trying sports I found out that I was faster than most people I played with and also seemed to have an undying will to never touch the ground. I’d bump into Things and other players but always managed to keep myself up and continue the play. Even if I did go down I’d pull off some ridiculous roll back into a standing position because of this never give up attitude from my parents. It was common knowledge to the parents once my dad started our soccer team that if I ever stayed down from contact with someone you knew I was seriously hurt. Luckily that rarely happened and I enjoyed a mostly injury free (aside from a few hamstring pulls) athletic career throughout school. I can remember all the way back to elementary school and summer camp just what got me into running competitively. I always wanted to win in any race or speed related event once I realized I was pretty fast for a kid. I never settled for anything less than first and if I ever did fail to win it hit me hard. Any soccer team I ever played on because of his always used me as a midfielder or outside defender. I enjoyed his because of the excitement level of the crowd anytime I caught a kid from behind or saved a ball on the end line that nobody thought anyone had a shot at. I definitely feed off of that outside energy while playing something and think it directly related to why I enjoy running road races so much in front large groups of supporters along the way.

I took this love for competition and ability to feed off positive energy into track once I reached the middle school level. The coach said he saw me run up and down the court in basketball and thought I would be a nice addition to his team. I never had any trouble racing kids at this level, even gaining attention from the high school coach. A goal of mine was always to get called up early, which only ended up happening in soccer my sophomore year, but gave me something to reach for with every new season. I loved the aspect of track where you were not only competing against other athletes but your self as well. It’s a mental battle to not give up in a race and also give yourself the motivation to beat old finishing times. I did fairly well in high school always earning point for my team with a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place finish in dual meets. When it camp to invitationals I was aware that I was just average with that collection of athletes and talent. This stayed the norm for me in college where I could win or place in my own heats, however was never in the fastest heats for anything other than relays. I still enjoyed at least trying to beat those faster than me and was humbled in a good way to learn that some people will simply outwork me at times or be better and there is nothing I can do on that day to defeat them. It gives me the fuel to be better next time because as I mentioned before I do not like to lose!

I finally joined Selden Hills after college at the suggestion of my friend Jon Heitner, who as you all know is a beast! We ran the classic 10k in 2014 and I remember complaining to him about all the hills that he refused to call hills because their elevation was not as great as those on Berkshire or Adirondack. These other hills were apparently called “bumps.” I was having none of it then, but fast forward to now and I describe them the same way to anyone I introduce to the hills lol. I was inconsistent after my introduction, but fast forward to now (until my injury) I started to make more frequent appearances and soon after my dad’s attempt in April decided to go for Warrior of the Month in July. I never thought I had a shot, nor did I think reaching my goal of 200 miles for the month was possible after only having recorded 40 for an earlier month that year. I hadn’t even run 100 for a month on flat courses up to this past month. However, a little under 30 selfies and several hills miles later I reached my goal and got to accept the trophy for the first time in early August. Since then I’ve taken time off and even got injured running at work, but cannot wait to heal up and hit the hills again as soon as possible!

Finally, just to throw a little in about my personality….As I mentioned earlier my parents instilled a great sense of respect for others in me at a young age. They taught me morals and values that I still hold to this day. I know that making the right choice isn’t always the popular one, but at the end of the day all that matters is I can look at myself in the mirror and be proud of the man I am. I refuse to change for anyone and that includes things such as drinking, smoking or doing any drugs. I have not even so much as tried any of these (not once) and plan to keep it that way for as long as I live. There is no reason for this straightedge lifestyle other than me not wanting to harm my body with things that everyone is well aware will do so. I have nothing against anyone that does any of the three I just never will myself, but understand that I’m in the minority there. Other than that I’m a huge kid at heart who loves to have fun and be active. I hope to spread some positivity to all of you with every post that I make or interaction that we have. I hope you all enjoy my Warrior of the Week introduction and look forward to sharing more with you the rest of this week!

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