Glen Cove’s Eva Casale finished her third straight marathon of the week Wednesday night, but this time, she had a companion throughout the entire 26.2-mile course.
Dayna Schantz, 28, of Northport, didn’t intend on running a full marathon when she arrived at the Runner’s Edge store in Farmingdale, the start of Casale’s third run. She said she planned to keep Casale company for maybe the first seven to 10 miles, but once she started running, she just didn’t stop.
“Eva just kind of kept me going,” Schantz said.
Casale, 49, an ultramarathoner, is planning to run seven marathons in seven consecutive days while raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Both she and Schantz are members of the society’s Team in Training, a group that trains people to compete in endurance events while they, in return, raise funds for cancer research.
Schantz, a lymphoma survivor, joined the team three years ago after her cancer went into remission. She ran her first full marathon two years ago, and had been training to run her second in January, but a last-minute ankle injury sidelined her.
“I didn’t think I would be able to run 26.2 miles without training for it,” Schantz said of Wednesday’s run. “I still don’t know how it happened, but being there to support Eva was just so amazing. “
Around Mile 18, Schantz said Casale turned to her and said, “Thank you.”
Although Schantz was the only one that stuck with Casale for all 26.2 miles Wednesday, a number of other runners joined her for portions of the course. At Mile 19, she picked up a group of about 30 for the last 7.2 miles of the course.
Casale is inviting anyone who wants to run with her to register at goteameva.org and make a donation of $100. Every one who does, will receive a T-shirt and medal. As of Thursday afternoon, Casale’s fundraising total was close to $19,000. Her goal is to raise $49,000 -- $7,000 for each marathon.
Thursday’s run will take place in Babylon, beginning at the Babylon Bike Shop (218 E. Main St.). Once again, Casale will set out at 2 p.m. to run the first 19 miles, and around 6:30 p.m., she will circle back to the store to pick up anyone who wants to run the final 7.2 with her.
The last leg of the race will pass by the Bay Shore home of Rich Arcuri, a Team in Training member and local contractor who died on June 20 at the age of 49 after a work-related accident. As the runners pass by Arcuri’s home, balloons will be released in his honor, Casale said.
“Tonight’s run is going to be very bittersweet,” Casale said. “It’s not only for those with cancer …. It’s also going to be in honor of a teammate.
“I know when we turn down his block, it’s going to get emotional, not just for me, but for a lot of people.”
The final three runs this week will take place in Lynbrook, Massapequa and Glen Cove. On Saturday, about 40 people are signed up to run 13.1 miles -- a half marathon -- with her.
If you're running with or cheering on Team Eva, share your tweets and Instagrams with Newsday by using the hashtag #RunEvaRun. Below, you'll find some of the latest social media updates from Casale and her supporters.
(Mobile readers: View social media posts via the link at the top of this article.)