Saratoga native Tiffany Vaught, who currently lives in Virginia Beach, VA, had trained hard to run the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon this past Sunday, March 22. But at the 11th hour, the race was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So Vaught took matters into her own hands.
Vaught had been training for six months leading up to the marathon, and it was her goal to complete the feat before turning 40 this August. “I’m not really a runner,” says Vaught. “I just thought it would be something really hard to do.” The training was already a challenge in and of itself, so she didn’t wish to give in and be done with it. A self-proclaimed “fitness fanatic,” Vaught ran four times a week with a baby-in-jogger. “I understood why they had to [cancel the marathon],” she says. “I don’t know, the way we heard about the coronavirus is, people are getting it, but if you’re healthy you didn’t have to worry. And then everything came out with Italy, and it made it more real. I was just devastated. I felt defeated. It was hard,” says Vaught. “I just felt like something had been taken from me, so I was definitely upset.”
This past Sunday, when it came to the day of the marathon, Vaught ran the 26.2-mile race as scheduled, on the race’s published route—but by herself, with just a crowd of her family and friends cheering her on. Her husband and daughter set themselves up at the one-mile marker to cheer on her progress; her father and son at another; and so on, until Vaught finished the race with a time of 4 hours, 39 minutes and 9 seconds. A family friend ran the last half of the marathon with Vaught, and her son ran the last five miles of the marathon by her side.
“I thought, ‘What if I don’t do it and then I train next year, and I break my ankle and basically waste all that time and have nothing to show for it?’ says Vaught. “When you work hard for something, you just can’t let anything stop you from finishing it,” she says.
Below, take a look at a live video of Vaught running her solo marathon.