Maddy Casale: Unlikely Runner Finishes Philly Marathon



Maddy Casale, FCLC ’20, ran the Philadelphia Marathon in 5 hours and 23 minutes.


Maddy Casale, FCLC ’20, didn’t expect to run a marathon in 5 hours and 23 minutes when she started running on her middle school cross country team. Between fifth and eighth grade, Casale was reluctantly introduced to long distance running because her mother became the coach of the team. On Nov. 18, 2018, Casale would go on to run all 26.2 miles of the Philadelphia Marathon.

Though Casale was apathetic towards cross country, she thoroughly enjoyed other sports, especially field hockey, basketball and lacrosse. Field hockey for her “is kind of like long distance running, but with a ball,” she said “I feel like I often need something to actually chase, so I didn’t like running just to run.”

A talented basketball player in high school, Casale originally intended to pursue playing the sport at the college level. After tearing her ACL in January of her senior year, Casale was forced to change her college pursuits, for she missed the time period in which colleges would scout out new players. Nevertheless, her change of plans led Casale to New York where she could pursue her interest in comedy.

Though Casale came to New York to focus on her other interests, she continued to search for physical outlets. After her ACL tear, Casale spent six months without physical activity. By the time she arrived at Fordham, she could not participate in sports that required a lot of agility, so she picked up running again. She began to see running as a release, especially in moments of high stress.

Nevertheless, Casale began to excel as a runner last year when she and a friend ran their first half marathon in May 2017 in Brooklyn. “I was super undertrained but had a good time,” she said. Afterwards, her friend suggested that they do a full marathon for their next race, so they entered the lottery in New York City. They did not win spots in the New York City Marathon, so they entered into the Philadelphia Marathon instead.

“I thought doing a marathon would be a bucket list thing to accomplish in life,” Casale said, “It was really nice to have something active to devote myself to again.” Starting last July, Casale began conditioning for the Philadelphia Marathon. She utilized the Nike Plus running app that provided her with a training schedule, but she found it difficult to keep up with school; nevertheless, she achieved a 16-mile run a month before the marathon.

Casale could barely sleep the night before the marathon, but she quickly regained confidence in herself when she began her 26.2-mile journey the following day. Casale described, “By mile four, I was near tears, not from pain or anything but from all the strangers that would come out and cheer for you.” Originally from Pittsburgh, Casale found the encouragement from the spectators to be a warm reminder to press forward as she pushed herself to her limit.  

Casale contended that the first 15 miles were “pretty easy,” but her “legs felt like they were going to fall off” by mile 24. Nonetheless, Casale finished in a little under five and a half hours. She felt immensely sore the following day but immensely accomplished as well. Casale declared, “It was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, but also so worth it. I definitely want to do another one, but I will for sure train harder for it.” Though Casale intends to strengthen her conditioning routine for her next marathon, she has passed a major milestone in her fitness career and stands out among the Lincoln Center student body as an athlete. Next, Casale plans to take on the New York City Marathon.