Becca Pizzi is on track to make history as the first American woman to complete the World Marathon Challenge, which will have her running seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.
“I read about it last November and I was like, I have to do this,” Pizzi, 35, tells PEOPLE. “I was born to run this race, and I’ve prepped my entire life for it.”
The Massachusetts-based mom-of-one began running when she was 6 years old, and hasn’t stopped since. She’s completed 45 marathons already, including 15 Boston Marathons.
“I love to travel and I love to run,” she explains of why she does it. “And I love to inspire people.”
While Pizzi is an experienced runner, her training for the World Marathon Challenge has been more intense than anything she has done before.
“I’ve worked really, really hard over the past year,” she says. “Right now I’m running seven days a week, between 70 and 100 miles – and that’s before my daughter wakes up. Then at nighttime it’s something else – yoga for runners or CrossFit or personal training. It’s been a long year!”
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Pizzi knows completing the World Marathon Challenge will be difficult, but says she is just going to take it one race at a time.
“We’re going to be in negative temperatures all the way up to 90 degrees, but I’m going to be thinking about what is happening at this very moment and that’s it,” she says. “It’s going to be a lot of run, eat, sleep, repeat. I just cannot let my guard down, from the time the gun goes off in Antarctica to the time I cross the finish line in Australia, because there’s no room for error.”
Pizzi says she has been able to compete thanks in large part to her sponsors – Ultima Replenisher, Dr. Cool and the Lyon-Waugh Auto Group – but has gotten the most important seal of approval from her 8-year-old daughter Taylor.
“She’s so happy about it,” says Pizzi. “I asked her about it at first. She’s psyched. Out of the blue she came over to me and she said, ‘Mom finish strong.’ She’s proud of me. It’s so important for me to show her to believe in yourself.”
Looking ahead to the race on January 23 – which will have her running a total of over 183 miles in Antarctica; Punta Arenas, Chile; Miami, Florida; Madrid, Spain; Marrakesh, Morocco; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Sydney, Australia – Pizzi says she has no concerns at all.
“I just think the hardest part is being away from Taylor,” she says. “I know I can do this.”