Saturday Spotlight- Robert Haughn

Name: Robert “Bob” Haughn
Hometown: Eastport
Current town: Port Jefferson Station
Marital status: Married 35yrs. to Barbara
Children: Greg(34), Erik(28), Lisa(27)
Pet: Abby (German Shepherd – 7)
Occupation: Mini-Bus Driver

First of all…Thanks Lou…for asking me to be Warrior Of The Week. I questioned my ability to entertain the masses but Lou promised everyone would be on the edge of their seats…so the pressure is on all of you to be amused by my ramblings!

I would like to start by saying I come from an exotic locale like Triin Lawrence(Estonia) and Szilvia Vass(Hungary), however I doubt anyone will believe I am from Mars, so let’s just say I was born on the outskirts of Riverhead at what was then Central Suffolk Hospital. I was the first born, hatched, failed lab experiment,or.. fill in the blank with your own opinion…child of Jack and June Haughn of Eastport. I have a younger brother Cliff and younger sister Kathy. Growing up in Eastport was a wonderful experience, small town life at it’s best. A sleepy little town where everyone knew each other and quite a few were related (No Deliverance or first cousins marrying stories jokes…please).

As a child I was always active, playing whatever sport was in season and enjoying other activities during the summer months. Mom and Dad would often join in the activities making for a great family environment. In fact it’s where I got my mantra in life, which I passed onto my kids…we may not have a lot of money but you will always be loved because family comes first.

Once I reached the school level of interscholastic sports I was in heaven. Our small school only featured 3 sports for boys, soccer, basketball, and baseball. I played all 3 as one season turned into another. I was always one of the fastest but in the beginning also one of the smallest. In practice I would always endeavor to finish our laps or sprints first….and I hated to lose! By the time graduation from high school(class of ’75) rolled around I was one of the tallest in my class (6’1) but I still weighed only 145.

After graduating I attended SCCC in Selden for my first 2 years mainly to save money. I participated in intramural sports but the most important moment of my time there was being in the same Freshman English class as my future wife, although we actually didn’t talk until my last semester there (more on that story later in the week).

Following those 2 years, I transferred to the University of Maryland, where I studied Journalism, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree which we affectionately called a …BS in BS! While there I was able to write some newspaper articles on some of the athletes which were later published in their hometown papers. For those of you old enough to remember these names, I met Boomer Esiason, Mike Tice, Buck Williams, and Albert King among others. One classmate was Renaldo “Skeets” Nehemiah, at one time the world record holder in the 110m hurdles (first male under 13 seconds). Another student who wrote for the school paper at the time was Tim Kurkjian of ESPN baseball fame. Well enough name dropping for now.

Upon graduating in 1979, I embarked upon a career in retail. I have worked for Woolco(only old timers may remember that store), Caldor, Genovese(now Rite Aid) Drug Store, Sears, and Target. That covered 33+ years with a 5 year gap from 1995-2000 working in electrical sales. Along the way I married Barbara in 1982. In 1983 we welcomed our first son Greg, followed by Erik(1989) and Lisa(1990). I stayed in shape by playing adult rec basketball in the winter and softball in the summer….still no formal running…YET!

In July of 1991 my world was turned upside down. July 9th to be exact. I was supposed to have a scheduled day off from my job as Asst. Mgr. of Genovese in Bay Shore, but was called in due to a high volume of work. A few hours later I was advised that I had an emergency phone call. I answered and was greeted by my sister-in-law crying hysterically that Greg had been hit by a car. He was just shy of his 8th birthday which was July 31st. Panic set in as I raced home on Sunrise Hwy.not knowing what to expect. I actually passed my father-in-law who had also gotten a call. I turned onto my street and the first thing I saw was yellow police tape. Fearing the worst I parked my car and ran to my house. My mother-in-law advised me that Greg was still alive and had been taken to Stony Brook Hospital by police helicopter. By this time my father-in-law had arrived and said let’s go and he insisted on driving. Arriving at the ER, I walked in and asked about a child that had just come in after being hit by a car. A very young and obviously inexperienced nurse took me right into the exam room. There was Greg on a table, with about 15 people around him, all types of tubes and wires running everywhere. A doctor turned around and yelled “get him out of here”! Needless to say, quite an eye opening experience. Because it would take me 3 days to explain the entirety of this experience, I will cover other aspects of it later in the week. I’ve told a few people the story on our runs and will answer any questions you may have. In order to proceed with my story let’s just say what Greg and our family went through was not something I would wish on my worst enemy. Seeing your child laying there near death is not fun. Since I stated at the beginning that Greg is 34, you know he survived. I need to pick up the pace as it get to running. And as we were taught in journalism…leave them wanting more lol!

As Greg recovered from his injuries I needed to find an outlet to aid in his recovery. Once he was cleared to play sports I signed him up for soccer. In the process I was strong armed into becoming a coach…one of the best experiences of my life. Whatever sport I was coaching I ran and scrimmaged with the kids. Tried to lead by example by always hustling. I began working at Target on the overnight shift (12 yrs.) so that I could spend time with my kids with their school sports, plays, and other school activities as well as the teams that I coached them in. Getting 2 hours of sleep a day for 12 years is killer but so worth it to see your children grow and become amazing young people. I know, I know….what about the running?

After the kids graduated high school and in Erik’s case college, I had become quite sedentary. From 145lbs. in high school, to 155 by college graduation, to @185 after that I had ballooned up to 212. Having been diagnosed diabetic a few years earlier I knew it wasn’t a good thing. I had always been athletic and in good shape. One day I turned to my daughter and I said “I look pregnant”. Of course my loving wife chimed in with “looks like twins”. It was at this point that Erik jumped in. He had run track in high school and college so he said “Dad lets go run”. It was a 30 degree, 15 degree wind chill Jan.2013 night with a heavy wind. We bundled up and headed for the junior high school track. That first night I barely survived one lap. Not to be discouraged I went back the next night and the next. I also changed my diet…cutting out sugar, especially soda…started drinking water almost exclusively. I also cut out fast food for 6 months. Within that first year I was able to get back down to 185lbs. I gradually increased my running to 1 mile, then 2, then 3. At this point Erik said lets sign up for a 5K. I went in with no expectations other than to finish. I told Erik I wanted to break 30 but in my head I said 25. I finished in 23:41 placing 3rd in my age group. I WAS HOOKED! I couldn’t wait until next year to run it again…silly me…not realizing that there were tons of races out there and a running community. I continued to run at the track increasing my distances. When Erik went to run Cow Harbor in 2015, I ran 7 miles on the track. In 2016 I joined him at that venue, my first 10K. Erik had run at Selden Hills @ 2 years earlier and suggested I do that…once.. just to say I accomplished it. So @ 3 weeks after Cow Harbor I came to “THE HILLS”. I ran that first day with KC Brett and Lance Homan….and enjoyed it, although I did think would be a 1 time thing. KC “persuaded” me to return on Weds. to run which I did followed by the next Sunday. On the next Weds. I met Kelly Archer and we were the only 2 running that day. Kelly and I hit got along from the get go and she told me about the Sleep In Later Group that normally ran on Wednesdays. I kept coming back, meeting more and more cool warriors. Kelly helped me set goal times for races since I had no clue, especially at longer distances.Thank you Kelly! Needless to say I have embraced the “SHW” lifestyle. I am down to @152 lbs. only 7 lbs. more than high school graduation. There are so many people from this awesome group that have been positive influences. I can’t list you all or I would never get to post this and Lou would be sending me messages lol. With that being said I do want to mention a few..Jennifer Finkelstein Adelberg for taking me on my first slaughterhouse, Mark Ogden for accompanying on what was to be a solo Meatgrinder on New Years Day 2017. A special shout out to my regular SILG peeps..OShag Henessy, Nancy Walker Anderson, and Michael Oliveri……who support me while busting my chops. There are so many others that I have thanked and will continue to thank in person. All you warriors are incredible people which is why I try to get out and help the newbies as much as possible and like you did for me. Hope I kept you entertained (see the Erik Bryan kidnap story if you want laughs)!

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