A 35-year-old Belmont woman has crossed the finish line in Sydney, Australia, to become the first American woman to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days, according to race organizers.
Becca Pizzi finished her weeklong quest to complete the World Marathon Challenge early Saturday — just before 11:30 a.m. Friday in her hometown of Belmont — with a time of 4:08:51 hours, race organizers said on their Facebook page.
After jetting between continents and running 26.2 miles in each one, she finished first among four women in the race.
She embarked on the challenge last Saturday in Antarctica, going on to complete marathons in Chile, Miami, Spain, Morocco, and Dubai before wrapping up in Sydney. Dan Cartica and Calum Ramm, both US Marines, came in first overall.
Pizzi, the mother of an 8-year-old daughter, has many fans in Belmont, where she runs a day-care center and manages Moozy's ice cream shop.
“I’ve coached girls hockey in Belmont for a long time and I’ve seen people who are driven,” said Dante Muzzioli, who owns Moozy's. “But I’ve never seen anyone driven like her. She’s in a class all of her own.”
Muzzioli, a long-time family friend, said he was tentative when Pizzi told him of her plans, fearing for her health. But Pizzi would not be swayed, he said, and her determination drove her to success.
Muzzioli compared Pizzi to Boston sports icons like Bobby Orr and Tom Brady, noting that her drive and tenacity is on par with some of New England’s most accomplished athletes.
“I look at her with awe,” he said. “I look at her like any other big athlete. I think it says alot about her physical ability, but also says a lot about her heart and her character. I’m proud that she’s my friend. She’s a very special person.”
Muzzioli got the chance to watch Pizzi on her quest when she ran in Miami, an experience he described as incredible. He explained that Pizzi, after completing the race, waited for over an hour before resting or eating to watch the other competitors cross the finish line.
Belmont has been caught up with Pizzi fever over the past week, according to Muzzioli. The town watched from halfway across the globe at times as one of their own made history. Belmont Savings Bank also donated $1,000 to her charity of choice — the Belmont Food Pantry, where Pizzi worked as a teenager.
“She’s all the buzz in Belmont,” Muzzioli said. “We’re in the middle of a slow time in town for a lot of reasons, but she’s bringing a lot of excitement.”
Belmont Savings Bank is throwing Pizzi a welcome-home ceremony on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in Belmont Center.
Muzzioli has been in contact with Pizzi throughout the challenge, texting back-and-forth with her to offer support. The one thing he said that has affected her focus the most throughout is that she misses her daughter, Taylor.
But despite the mental, physical, and emotional toll, Pizzi proved she was unstoppable when she crossed the finish line just after 3 a.m. Sydney time. According to Muzzioli, the feat is more than human.
“She’s just like Superman.”Bailey Putnam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.