As Antoinette Casselberry approached the end of her most recent marathon, organizers had already started to pack up and runners crossing the finish line were being given a paper that said ” no finish.”
“I thought there was going to be a battle with bloodshed,” Casselberry wrote in an email following the race, which was in Istanbul, Turkey, on Nov. 11. “People from all over the world finished after the road shut-down time looking for the medals and paper. The race promoters refused to be understanding and cooperative.”
Casselberry waited more than an hour — no food, water, or support services available — with some of the other runners until, finally, the longtime Bonny Doon resident got what she wanted: Proof.
A promoter returned with shirts and medals, and wrote down the remaining runners’ times by hand.
Casselberry, who has been dedicated to the goal of running a marathon on every continent for years, could mark Asia off her list after having also finished 26.2-mile races in the United States [North America], Ireland [Europe], Australia, Antarctica and Madagascar [Africa] and Easter Island [South America] — sometimes going to creative lengths in order to create a marathon where there wasn’t one.
Although the 34th Eurasia Marathon website still shows a “DNF” after her name, Casselberry said she finished in about 5 hours, 50 minutes. And while the race was a tough one — few bathroom facilities were provided, and course workers only had water, sugar cubes, and apples on hand — she said she thoroughly enjoyed her trip to Turkey.
So what’s next? Casselberry, a Santa Cruz Track Club member, has already set a new goal of running a marathon in every state. She estimates she is 35-40 percent of attaining it after having completed The X-Country Marathon in the Everglades in Florida last weekend, where she finished in 6:58:45 for 22nd among women.
Three Questions with Antoinette Casselberry
Q: What was the best experience you had in fulfilling this goal?
A: My best experience with this goal is that I have met incredible people along the way and we have become life-long friends. One cannot help but learn incredible amounts about other people, places and ways of life.
Q: Which was your favorite marathon?
A: All of my marathons abroad were quite memorable. Antarctica was the most beautiful and the most difficult. I made really good friends on Easter Island. Istanbul touched my heart, tantalized my taste buds, and was a soulful experience.
Q: What kind of support have you had from family and friends?
A: If it was not for the support of family, friends, and my doctors at Santa Cruz Dental Group, none of this would have been possible. My bosses have been very patient and understanding of my goals.