BAY SHORE, NY — On June 11, a Long Island woman is planning to travel from Merrick to Montauk Point, the hard way. Laura Cummings, a Bay Shore resident who coaches girls track at Calhoun High School in Merrick, plans to run 100 miles in 100 hours from June 11 to June 14 to raise money for graduating high school senior athletes across Long Island.
Cummings was inspired to create this fundraiser after seeing how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the students she coaches.
“I do not know exactly what to do about the COVID-19 situation, but I do know two things: when you care about someone, you show up. And I care about these kids.”
The effort, dubbed Be The Mountain, has an ambitious goal: to raise $127,000 for 127 scholarships, one for each public high school on Long Island. She will have the high school coaches choose the recipients.
“When my dad passed away in 2018 my high school coach was one of the first people at my doorstep. Aside from my parents, nobody has ever done as much for me as he has. He is a huge reason why I coach. When I transitioned from student-athlete to coach I realized that for a lot of kids high school sports brings something else entirely than it did for me,” Cummings wrote.
She founded The John Cummings Memorial Scholarship Fund in 2019 to support local senior athletes, in memory of her father.
“High school sports brings all different kinds of kids together. They learn to work together and win together and lose together. Most importantly, they get to build memories together. I took it personally when COVID-19 stole those memories from my athletes, from my younger cousins and from all the student-athletes on Long Island.”
Cummings is confident about the run—she is a former college runner who has qualified for the Olympic Trials in the marathon. Her mother, brother, cousin and uncle will support her on the run, trailing in an RV. She is hoping supporters will come run with her or cheer her on as she passes through their towns during the four days of running, but even more, she hopes they will help support the student athletes who missed out on their final season of high school sports.
“The class of 2020 is resilient and has had to lose many memories, in sports and in school. Many of the kids are devastated about losing their last opportunity to compete. And a lot miss the friendship and camaraderie of that final season they’ll never get back.”
This article originally appeared on the Bay Shore Patch