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Friday, February 26, 2016

7 Marathons On 7 Continents In 7 Days – And She Won Them All

Becca Pizzi crosses the finish line in Antarctica for the World Marathon Challenge 2016. (Courtesy)

Becca Pizzi crosses the finish line in Antarctica for the World Marathon Challenge 2016. (Courtesy)

Becca Pizzi, who won all seven marathons in the World Marathon Challenge 2016, is pictured at WBUR. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Becca Pizzi, who won all seven marathons in the World Marathon Challenge 2016, is pictured at WBUR. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

A Massachusetts runner made history by running seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. Becca Pizzi of Belmont won them all, and also won the World Marathon Challenge.

In doing so, the 35-year-old single mother also set a record for the fastest women’s time ever run for the week, completing all seven marathons in 27 hours, 26 minutes and 15 seconds.

Becca Pizzi joins Here & Now’s Robin Young in the studio to talk about her Herculean feat.

Interview Highlights: Becca Pizzi

How her daughter felt about her journey

“The very first thing that I did was talk to my daughter. I showed her the promo video from last year and she said, ‘Mommy, you can do this.’ So I was very psyched that she was on board. To be fair to Taylor, a lot of my training was done in the morning before she woke up or after she went to sleep for the night.”

On her motivation

“I was really looking forward to the test of endurance and strength. And I love to challenge myself and it was a great opportunity for me to inspire the world and to show my daughter to believe in herself.”

How she prepared for the World Marathon Challenge

Becca Pizzi is pictured after winning the marathon in Australia, as part of the World Marathon Challenge 2016. (Courtesy)

Becca Pizzi is pictured after winning the marathon in Australia, as part of the World Marathon Challenge 2016. (Courtesy)

“I had a base of 45 marathons going into this event and I knew that, being from New England, I had trained in all types of weather conditions, so I knew weather wouldn’t be a factor for me. I made a training plan and just kind of stuck by my training plan of running between 70 and 100 miles per week, on top of personal training, yoga for runners, CrossFit. So I put in the work for the year.”

Whether she knew how her body would hold up

“I have a great relationship with my doctor and she said, ‘You’re healthy, there’s no reason to believe you can’t do this.’ So I started out with the one Boston marathon a year and then it was Boston plus another one, and then Boston plus another one, plus another one. So I run about six marathons per year. I’m very fortunate to never have been injured. Going into my sixth marathon, I suffered a groin pull. And that was unfortunate but I got through it.”

On the intense itinerary of the World Marathon Challenge

“In a way, it was a lot of fun because I love to travel and I love to run. So I’m doing this on this huge stage in front of so many people. And the race director Richard Donovan really made sure we were comfortable. We were in business class international, which means that the seats laid down into beds. So I slept an average of seven hours per night on the plane. We flew about 10 hours per day.”

Becca Pizzi holds her World Marathon Challenge 2016 medals. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Becca Pizzi holds her World Marathon Challenge 2016 medals. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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