In just two months, the Los Angeles Marathon will shut down parts of the city again, and in the crowd will be 75-year-old Al Vaughn.
His journey to the finish has been anything but easy.
Two years ago, the Bakersfield native almost died from COVID-19. He caught the virus during the first wave in March 2020. It was just 10 days after he ran the LA half-marathon and won first place for his age group.
Vaughn recently spoke to “Inside the Issues” host Alex Cohen about his long road to recovery.
"I had a very bad case," he said. "I almost died. I went into a coma with pneumonia."
Vaughn spend 31 days on a ventilator and three months in the hospital. When he woke up from his comma, he was completely paralyzed.
“I couldn’t move anything but my eye, and so I was answering questions with my eyes,” he said.
Vaughn lost 40 pounds of muscle and had to learn to walk again. Eventually, he decided it was time to get back into running. Two years later, he’s racing toward a new finish line.
The 75-year-old is back on his feet and signed up for the 2022 LA half-marathon in March despite his continued battle with AFIB and loss of strength. He told Cohen it’s his racing team that motivates his recovery.
"I didn’t want to let them down," he said. "They kind of look forward to me as kind of a leader for them."
Vaughn's race team at World Vision raises money to provide access to clean water for children around the world.
With less than three months to go, Vaughn and his team continue to vigorously train every week, even during Bakersfield’s coldest days. And he just has one wish as he runs towards to a full recovery.
“I hope to get somewhere near my old time,” he told Cohen.