MEMBER: Kayla Vaughan
Name: Kayla Vaughan
Hometown: Oakland, CA
High School: Carondelet High School
College: University of Michigan
Occupation: RN at Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania
Favorite Place to Run in Philly: Wissahickon
2 Mile 12:22
Half Marathon 1:36.22
11th Female NIRCA Half Marathon 2014 (Bloomington, IN)
By: Kevin Brandon (09/03/18)
Kayla, welcome back! I understand you've had an exciting August. Could you give us an overview of what you've been up to travel-wise?
I just got back from a month in Europe! I had never traveled abroad before and had a break in school, so I decided to take advantage of my time off! I traveled to London, Holland, Prague, Krakow, Budapest, Switzerland, and Paris. I mostly traveled on my own but met up with friends and family throughout the trip. My grandparents on my mom’s side immigrated from Holland so I was able to visit some of my relatives in Rotterdam and learn more about my Dutch roots! I tried to run at least once everywhere I visited and some of my favorite places to run were Hyde Park in London, Margaret Island in Budapest, and along the Aare River in Bern, Switzerland. I also did a 10-mile solo hike in the Swiss Alps!
For our new members, could you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you end up in Philadelphia and running for PRTC?
I grew up in Oakland, CA and am the oldest of three. Our parents signed us up for every sport growing up so my brother, sister, and I are used to being busy and staying active. I come from a really big family: my mom is one of seven and my dad is one of eight, so holidays and family gatherings are always really fun! I went to an all-girls Catholic high school and then University of Michigan for college. I graduated with a degree in neuroscience and minored in medical anthropology. After college, I joined Jesuit Volunteer Corps and completed a year of service in Cleveland, OH working at a federally qualified health center and a crisis nursery shelter. My experience as a Jesuit Volunteer lead me to nursing and I am now studying to be a pediatric nurse practitioner at University of Pennsylvania. When I moved to Philadelphia, I knew I wanted to get back into running and meet some people outside of nursing. I looked up PRTC and thought I was definitely not fast enough for the team but figured the best way to get better is to train with people faster than you! I have been with PRTC for a little over a year now and have met some of my best friends in Philly through the club!
When did you first become a runner? Did a specific event compel you to take on the sport?
I actually became a runner in third grade! I was at a CYO event watching one of my classmates run and they needed an extra girl for the relay team. I was wearing pants and non-running shoes, but they threw me in the relay and I joined the team the next year! Growing up I played volleyball, basketball, soccer, and also danced and running was always a side sport to help me stay in shape. In high school, I joined the cross-country team and made amazing friends immediately. The team was very competitive but also really fun and it was a great way to meet people. I dropped basketball after my freshman year to focus on running and haven’t stopped since!
Once you began running, how did your career develop? Take us through day one to today.
When I was in eighth grade, I was one of the top runners that helped my school win the CYO Championships! It made me really excited about running and the banner that I signed is still in my grade school gym today. In high school, I worked really hard to make the varsity team at the end of my sophomore year. I ended up forgoing a more competitive collegiate running experience and decided to join the club running team at the University of Michigan, MRun. It was great because there were still a lot of fast runners on the team but no pressure or stress from a coach. After college, I took some time off from racing but when I came to Philly I knew I wanted to join a team again. I ran the Philly Half with PRTC last year and hoping to keep competing!
Can you tell us about a favorite running accomplishment or moment? How about a not-so-great moment?
One of my favorite running moments was when I PRd in the mile my senior year of high school. It was a regular league race and with about 300 meters left, I decided I really wanted to win the race and took off! I ended up beating my previous PR by about 10 seconds and ran a 5:32 mile! My name was in the paper that week and it was super exciting!
In college, my club running team had a big fundraiser every year for the Special Olympics called Race Across Michigan. It was a giant relay race across the state in 24 hours. We took turns running in groups and my junior year I ended up running 20 miles total throughout the day. We met Special Olympic athletes on one of the legs and it was really fun to see how excited they were for us. This event was a great bonding experience for our team and a fun way to see the whole state of Michigan. There’s nothing like running through the Kal-Haven trails at 4am as fast as you can! Really exhausting but totally worth it!
One other really special moment was when I won the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation 5K in San Francisco in 2017. My Aunt Cathy passed away from Multiple Myeloma in 2015 so it felt really great to win the race for her and continue bring awareness and raise money for MM research and treatment.
As with most runners, there are a lot of not-so-great moments… one of mine was senior year at Michigan when I was running in the NIRCA cross country championships and threw up my entire breakfast right when I crossed the finish line. Totally gross.
Regarding your running future, what are your near and long-term goals?
I am going to try and compete in the Philly half marathon this fall. I ran it last year but went out way too fast so going to try and do a better job pacing myself at the beginning and beat my time! My goal would be to run under 1:30. Within the next few years, I want to run a marathon and try to qualify for Boston! I also want to try another 5K sometime this year and run under 20 minutes.
You've had the opportunity to live in a few different areas across the county. What's your preference: Bay Area, Michigan, or Philly?
Each place has been awesome! The Bay Area is my home though so it’s definitely my favorite and has the best running. The weather is almost always perfect, and I love going home and revisiting all my old routes. I’ve also lived in Washington DC and enjoyed being able to run in the Mall and around all the famous monuments. Ann Arbor will always be a special place for me, especially during football season! It’s so beautiful there in the fall and the leaves are changing colors and the trails are in great shape. Go Blue!
Philly has been a great city and I’ve enjoyed going to school here. I’ve made great friends and love nursing. Somehow running up and down the Schuylkill River never gets old!
Can you tell us about your studies at Penn?
I’m in a dual degree program for my BSN/MSN. I will be done with my BSN in December and then work as a nurse while finishing my nurse practitioner degree. I will eventually be a pediatric nurse practitioner.
What inspired you to follow that career path?
I’ve always been interested in health care and working with children and families. Nursing takes a holistic approach to care, focusing on prevention and education and you are able to really get to know your patients and their families. I especially like working with new parents and kids that need extra care and support. I wanted a career where I could be on my feet helping people and nursing has been the perfect fit!
Any non-running related hobbies, hidden skills or talents we may enjoy hearing of?
I love biking, yoga, and swimming! I pretty much bike everywhere in the city to get around. As I get older, I’m trying to cross train more to avoid injuries.