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From Montauk to Patchogue, to combat drunken driving

RunFromTheEnd-1

Seventy miles on foot proved to be a bit too much for last year’s Run to the End, which raised money for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

That’s not to say the event’s founder, elite runner Russell Taveras, didn’t make it from Patchogue to Montauk.

He made it all right. But he paid for it.

“My achilles blew up like a grapefruit,” said Taveras, a physical therapist at Fusion Rehabilitation & Wellness in Patchogue and the co-owner of Infiniti Performance in Bellport. 

“It took me about a month to feel OK.”

So he was slowed a bit. For instance it took him longer to navigate the streets of Florence, Italy, for his honeymoon that began immediately after last year’s trek.

But one thing Taveras isn’t very good at is stopping.

He also realized this after waking up almost incapacitated for the second day of the big run last year.

“Ever since I met him, my husband has never been able to stand still for more than a couple minutes,” said his wife, Erin. “It was hard to see him in so much pain [after the 70 miles last year], so I said, ‘Please don’t run the full distance again.’

This year, the 70 miles will be completed in a single day — but it won’t be all on foot. 

Taveras is bringing his bike along. He’ll be leaving from Montauk at 7 a.m. Sunday with a fellow physical therapist and avid runner, Chris Costello. Taveras is doing 40 miles by foot and 30 by bike; Costello is doing 30 by foot and 40 miles by bike.

At the 35 mile mark they’ll be joined by about a half dozen other elite runners who will then be relaying their way back toward Patchogue, ending at The Tap Room.

Last year’s celebration was at The Sloppy Tuna in Montauk.

“But we weren’t home,” Taveras lamented. “The train ride killed us, as far as soreness. This way, we’ll be greeted by friends and family and comrades. And we’ll be a block away from my house to recover.”

Hence this year’s event’s name change: Eric’s Run From the End

Click here to donate online.

Taveras runs in the memory of his wife’s father, Eric Yodice, who was killed by a drunken driver in Woodhaven, Queens, in February 1987. She was just 3.

People getting killed or hurt in drunken driving accidents is something that’s “completely preventable,” Russell Taveras emphasized.

So this event is also about creating awareness of the dangers of drunken driving, and how it impacts people and families for years and decades after a crash.

“If we can touch even one kid, and at least make them more aware to maybe make better decisions, you can save lives,” he said. “That’s what it all comes down to.”

So at 7 p.m. Sunday night, look for a few dozen people at Swan Lake in East Patchogue, a combination of expert and recreational runners. 

They’ll be completing the last mile down Main Street together.

Among them will be Erin Taveras, whose dad wasn’t with her at her wedding last year —because of someone else’s bad decision.


Run From the End is supported by sponsors and donors. Click here to donate online.

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Erin as a child with her dad, Eric Yodice, before he was killed in 1987.

Top: Russell and Erin Taveras at the beginning of last year’s run, in East Patchogue. (courtesy)

About the author: Michael White

Michael White is a Bellport resident, longtime newspaper reporter and editor, and the owner of greaterpatchogue.com. Email him your story ideas or tips: mike@greaterpatchogue.com