Perimeter run stopped short

Lou D’Agostino ran and swam part of the perimeter of Martha’s Vineyard for charity, but called it off after an injury.


Rain, shine, or hurricane, Oak Bluffs resident Lou D’Agostino planned to journey around the entire 124-mile perimeter of Martha’s Vineyard for charity, but was stopped short due to an injury.

D’Agostino would have been the first person to run and swim the perimeter of the Island. His record and route would have been listed in Unfortunately, his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tore, and he had to call it quits at the 10-hour mark. “I was so sad I was unable to do it this morning,” D’Agostino said. 

Although planned for Thursday a little before midnight, D’Agostino began his 24-hour westward run and swim starting from South Beach in Edgartown a little earlier that night, at 9 pm. He planned to only travel on natural terrain. All proceeds D’Agostino makes through the GoFundMe page he set up will be donated to the Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation. The page will stay up until Oct. 31, and has made $10,020 of its $100,000 goal so far. 

D’Agostino said mentally he was still raring to go, but knew that the right thing to do was to let his body rest and receive surgery. He plans to try the run around the Island’s perimeter again next year.
D’Agostino set up the charity run-swim as a fun way to spread “self-love and self-worth awareness in our community.” He believed that this run-swim was a “good way to show people what they are capable of doing just being themselves.”

D’Agostino reached out to the Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation after hearing about them from another Islander. D’Agostino wanted to figure out what was the best way to donate the money, particularly to organizations that have programs benefiting children. 

“He really wanted to make sure the organizations that received the fund really needed it,” Jennifer Ray, manager of operations at the foundation, said. Ray said the foundation will discuss with D’Agostino how he might want the funds to be used for helping children, such as education or general wellness. 

D’Agostino got into ultrarunning not long after graduating from Northeastern University, and has run thousands of miles on Martha’s Vineyard, usually wearing a T shirt promoting an Island nonprofit organization. Something he learned from many miles of running was that he can’t think of the next destination. Rather, he must be grateful for the present he is in. “You get lost in the present moment. You forget who you are, and recognize there’s no concept of time and no concept of anything except for right now,” D’Agostino said about the up-to-50-mile runs he takes. “It’s one of the few precious moments where I’m truly present.”

When D’Agostino found out that nobody in the small community of Island ultrarunners had tried going around the entire perimeter of the Island, he thought, “You know what? I’m going to do it,” and began training. D’Agostino said he has “never felt more ready” to do a task. D’Agostino also said he was mentally ready to take on the ordeal. 

One of the people who helped train D’Agostino for the run-swim was YMCA swim instructor Jen Passafiume. They’ve known each other for a while now, and D’Agostino asked for help. Passafiume gave D’Agostine tips about swimming by “donating” a swim class to him. 

“That was my way of contributing to his wonderful, wonderful fundraiser,” said Passafiume. 

In the mission to spread self-love and self-worth, D’Agostino defined what these terms mean to him. Self-love and self-worth are not to love one’s ego or physical self. It is an acknowledgment that one is worthy of receiving love. “Sometimes a guide is needed to give that little spark of realization, including myself,” D’Agostino said. He wants to increase this awareness on the Island. 

At home, D’Agostino teaches his children this by saying words like “I love you not because of what you do but because of who you are,” and nightly affirmations of, “I love you guys almost as much as you love yourselves.”

D’Agostino first came to the Island in 2013, and began working with children and teens as an exercise coach. D’Agostino said he would make little checkups on how the children he worked with were doing mentally and internally, and some of them had their own struggles internally or at home. He said these little checkups made a big impact on the children. 

D’Agostino currently works with children on breath work, meditation, and other activities “to help kids who lack self-love and who need to see how amazing they are.” D’Agostino is in the works to establish his own nonprofit organization named Club Toucan, a name made by his children, with similar types of programs that he plans to open by next summer. 

“This is my community. I love my community,” D’Agostino said.

Those who would like to contribute to D’Agostino’s campaign can do so on his GoFundMe page


    • Hi John, I see your point—the island is kind of shaped like a pyramid when looked at objectively. Appreciate the feedback and thanks so much for your contribution and sense of community. Truly appreciate your efforts and more than understand where you are coming from ❤️

  1. Sorry, but, I did this in September of 2019, and documented it with Garmin watch, and also Spot messenger that put a dot on the map every 10 minutes. I believe that I was the first to do it non-stop. There are articles of others who have done it, and stories, but the other stories, people took Canoes, or crossed the bridges. I swam all 11 of the “openings”. Several people tracked my live progress.

  2. If there is someone who documented this before me, as I did with the GPS dots, I would love to hear about it. As I have not been able to confirm that anyone did it prior to me in “clean” style, doing all of the swims, no bridges. You can find me on FB. Paul Burton (grew up in Edgartown), live in Boston now.

  3. I think there are other readers who are likely interested in this claim to be the “first”, as this accomplishment is something that is informational and newsworthy to people who are interested in this topic.
    So for the readers of the Times;
    Other people have documented (with GPS, and witnesses tracking LIVE progress) doing the perimeter previously, in what is considered “clean” style, swimming all of the openings, NO bridges, no Canoes. I understand if Mr. D’Agostino was unaware that other’s have completed the “clean” or Natural circumnavigation previously, as it is information that is currently word of mount. If Mr. D’Agostino wants to go for the FKT, that is awesome, and good luck! Paul Burton, grew up in Edgartown, now live in Newton. Easy to find me if anyone wants to know more.

    • Hi Paul! I’m going to ping you on FB. Awesome that you did this!! It seems you slept in between as some point correct? The goal for me is non-stop. No sleeping, no long breaks—non-stop in under 24hrs. I’m going again next October if you’d like to have a go at it with me. I’ll get it touch via FB

  4. Also, the article mentions the perimeter being 127 miles? The ‘stay on the beach the entire way and swim all of the openings’ is 64 miles and change. So, perhaps Mr. D’Agostino is doing things like running all the way around Menemsha pond, instead of just swimming across the opening, and other similar diversions? So, that is a different “event” or challenge than just the Perimeter. Would love to hear the route.– this all has to do with personal ‘style’ and claim. Either way it is an awesome thing to do!

  5. Directly From the Fundraising Page:
    Thank you all so much for supporting the MV Community Foundation and kids on-island. You’re all freaking amazing!!
    As some of you know, I injured my knee about 10hrs into the trek nearing the midway point on Friday morning. My plan is to recover and complete the journey from where I left off in May 2022. If all goes to plan physically, I’ll give the perimeter another shot on October 7th, 2022. Regardless, I will personally match every donation made to this cause before running/swimming it again next year. I have many races planned for 2022 but this adventure is by far the most important to me, and likely the most physically jarring on my knee. Nonetheless, I will complete this the same way I started it—with love and gentle footsteps. This is the third “race” I’ve retired from since I was 21 due to injury. At this point in my life, it’s much tougher to stop than to keep going. I want to thank AC for being there in the early AM hours, giving me the best possible advice so I can recover quickly and continue to train and race in 2022. Thank you all for your love and support. I love each and every one of you. I’ll be up and running asap!
    With loving kindness,

  6. Right… the athletic brain trust above are the ‘first’ to ever think of doing this! I’m fairly certain it was done prior to 1492 by a great many people. I think you all need to put your ‘first’ kettle on simmer.

  7. PS if you’re interested we’ll be running not walking 😊. I Respect that you’ve walked and swam all the way around. A few people have walked around the island over the years and I like the route you took! A run/swim with no sleep is a bit of a different animal and yes, to date, no one has accomplished this…yet 🥰

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