One day, a co-worker at Riverhead Building Supply was bragging to Mike Davis of Aquebogue about his race time in a recent 5K. Mr. Davis joked around with his friend, who shot back that Mr. Davis couldn’t even run a mile.
Mr. Davis, who admitted he was never a runner, set out to prove his friend wrong and ran a mile around his neighborhood — his first in years. He said he barely completed it, but decided to keep trying and eventually worked his way up to racing in a 5K.
That was in 2009.
Now, almost a decade later, Mr. Davis, 45, has run marathons and countless half-marathons through Team in Training, a charity endurance training program sponsored by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Most recently, during a January weekend at Disney World, he ran a total of 48.6 miles with Team DMK For a Cure in a race series called the Dopey Challenge. Mr. Davis founded the Long Island-based team this summer in memory of his godfather, David King, a well-known fire chief from Springs, who died last year at 62 from acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
After running with Team in Training for about nine years, the seven-time marathoner said, “I made a big announcement that I had done my last marathon, but two weeks later I got a phone call saying Uncle Dave was sick … very quickly, I decided to run the Dopey.”
Mr. King’s passing inspired him to take on the four-race Dopey Challenge, which comprises a 5K, a 10K and half and full marathons that are run over consecutive days. But rather than raise just $4,900 — the minimum required for a Team in Training to run at Disney — he set a higher goal and has raised more than $70,000 to date.
Mr. Davis raised nearly $20,00 of that total on his own, which placed him among the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s top 10 individual fundraisers, who were honored at Disney World during the race weekend, Jan. 10-13.
Mr. Davis hopes Team DMK can increase its total to $100,000 by June 30. If that goal is met, he said, a research portfolio will be named after Mr. King and the team will be able to choose where the money goes.
“What he did was amazing,” said Joe Mammina of Wading River, who runs with Mr. Davis on Team DMK. “He put a lot of time and effort into it. And he makes a lot of sacrifices with his body and his family. All those training runs are hours and hours and hours.”
Team DMK is looking for new members and hopes to establish a larger group for a Team in Training on the East End, since weekend group training is held in Massapequa. Anyone interested in joining Team DMK can contact Mr. Davis at [email protected] or 631-236-6578.
The team is also still pursuing its $100,000 fundraising goal. If running isn’t your thing but you’d still like to help, you can donate by visiting this website.