Dejan Popovic, 36, of Melville, used Sunday's L.I. Marathon as a warm-up. Yes, a warm-up. Popovic, who originally is from Croatia, will compete in the Comrades Marathon, an ultramarathon in South Africa, on May 31.

The Comrades Marathon is 56 miles long, Popovic said. A marathon is a mere 26.2 miles long. It will be Popovic's first ultramarathon.

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"The most I've ever done in training was 42," Popovic said. "[The L.I. Marathon] was a good tuneup for it. The goal was just to try and stay relaxed, enjoy it, and not get carried away, remembering that I'll still have to go 56 miles [in a few weeks]."

He finished Sunday's race in 3 hours, 38 minutes, 56 seconds.

Popovic, who works at Runners Edge in Farmingdale, grew up in Bellmore and ran for Mepham High School from 1993-1997. He moved to America in 1989, he said.