Going the Distance for Veterans

By definition, an ultramarthon is anything longer than 26.2 miles, but they typically stretch much farther. Eva Casale has completed more than 30, the longest a 150-mile jaunt from Manhattan to Montauk, powered by nearly inimitable endurance and transcendent mental fortitude.

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Casale started running when she was 16, doing more and more loops in the neighborhood, slowly but surely garnering the physical endurance that is her body’s hallmark to this day.

She completed her first marathon at age 18 and after running the grueling races for 20 years, needed a new challenge. Enter ultramarathons. A grueling task for even seasoned runners, Casale uses her preparation—“I run 40 to 80 miles per week, and usually 4 to 6 weeks of 80 mile weeks if I’m training”—and physical traits to power her through the extreme distances. Two strong, powerful legs push a thin frame forward stride by stride until she reaches her destination. But maybe the most crucial “muscle” for Casale is her brain. Simply wanting to push herself to the furthest extreme—26.2 miles just wasn’t enough—showcases a inner edge most just don’t possess. Added to that is the mental determination vital just to get through the several-hour-long races. But this is actually the part Casale enjoys. “I enjoy listening to everything around me and the people I run with, and many times the solitude. My running clears my head and I think about absolutely nothing.”

Now she’s using her physical gifts for a higher cause. For the third time in four years, the Glen Cove resident will run seven marathons in seven days. From April 22–28, she’ll travel a total of 184 miles to raise funds for Hope for the Warriors, a nonprofit that provides comprehensive support programs for service members and families.

Her altruism should come as no surprise. In 2016, she donated her kidney to a complete stranger after hearing his story on the radio. Maybe she knew that her body would run just fine without it.

Meet Eva Casale on Wednesday, April 19 when Pulse speaks with her in a Facebook Live chat at 1pm.