AT 86, FAID IS STILL RUNNING After winning gold in local Olympics, Faid hopes to run in Senior Nationals CARROLL COUNTY SENIORS


In 1925, at the age of 18, Vernon Faid of Baltimore ran the 100-yard -- in 10.3 seconds -- not far off Olympic record time.

Mr. Faid, now 86 and living in Westminster, was preparing Thursday to run the 100-meter -- at the Maryland Senior Olympics at Towson State University.

"I can probably do it in about 25 [seconds] now, I guess," Mr. Faid said.

On Friday he did just that, completing the 100-meter course -- slightly longer than the 100-yard course he used to run -- in 25.52 seconds.

That was good enough to win the gold medal for the 85- to 89-year-old class in the 100-meter --, his seventh gold at the Maryland Senior Olympics since 1982. But he wasn't entirely happy.

"My time wasn't quite what I wanted it to be," Mr. Faid said, explaining that his foot had stiffened up because of wet weather approaching the area.

"Next year, I'm sure I'll be even better than I was this year," he said.

Next year is a qualifying year for the national Senior Olympics. Mr. Faid has set his sights on going.

He lost his only previous chance at a national seniors title in 1987, when he traveled to St. Louis for the national meet but became ill before his race.

He ran the first heat but clocked a poor time, and went home before the finals.

On his return to Westminster, he was promptly diagnosed with complete kidney failure resulting from a massive infection. He spent three months in the hospital, followed by six months of dialysis treatments.

"I was in such good physical shape, except my kidneys, I beat it," he said.

He said his doctors "all had the same opinion: 'If I hadn't been an athlete, I would have died.' "

Several years later, Mr. Faid lost a kidney to cancer.

Sixty-five years ago, circumstances cheated Mr. Faid out of his only shot at the Summer Olympics. He was invited to try out as a sprinter for the 1928 games, but was unable to go because he had to work.

Since then, he said, "I've kept myself in pretty good health.

"If you exercise regularly, the health will come," he said. "Of course, you've got to have good stock to start with."

He alternates training methods, walking three miles one day, running sprints the next, lifting weights in between.

Mr. Faid was recruited as a subject for a study on the effects of exercise on seniors at the Francis Scott Key Medical Center in 1985.

"They told me that my heart and lungs were equal to a person 20 years my junior," he said.

In addition to training, Mr. Faid still works part time as an accountant and as an ordained minister of the Disciples of Christ.

Like any athlete, he has had occasional injuries. In 1981, he ran in the Senior Olympics even though he had pulled a hamstring muscle two weeks earlier.

"I limped the rest of the year because of that," he said.

He said he keeps running because "I like to run. If I run, I feel better.

"There's a little egotism in it too, I guess," he said, adding that it would be nice to find his way into the Guinness Book of World Records someday.

He plans to run as long as he is able.

"If I live to be 100, and I still can navigate, I'll probably go out there," he said.

His advice to others?

"Pick some exercise that you enjoy, and do it regularly," he said.

"Get up, get out of bed, and get going."

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