Pizzi Proud: Belmont Celebrates Marathon Champion’s Return Home

Photo: Becca Pizzi and her daughter, Taylor.

Becca Pizzi came home to Belmont on top of a fire truck fueled by a wave of communal love.

Pizzi, both the first American woman to finish and win the World Marathon Challenge – in which participants run a marathon (26.2 miles) on seven consecutive days in a different continuant each day – arrived back to her hometown on Thursday, Feb. 4, to be the centerpiece of a parade from Belmont High School to Belmont Center.

Lead by town officials and the BHS Marching Band, Pizzi rode on a siren-blaring Belmont Fire engine with her daughter, Taylor, her family and boyfriend, followed by hundreds of residents – and a small army of television crews – celebrating the marathon champion and her accomplishment, destroying the previous record while running an average three hours and fifty-five minutes per race and finishing third overall all in one week’s time while traveling 25,000 miles. 

“Just flying seven continents in seven days is extraordinary, and they stopped to run a little bit,” said Bob Mahoney, CEO and president of Belmont Savings Bank which sponsored the parade and reception. 

Noting that Pizzi had seven “red letter days” in winning each race during the Challenge, “it’s important that you are sharing your fabulous red letter day with 20,000 people in your hometown and we really appreciate that very much,” said Mahoney, adding that young children will be able to look at her accomplishment “and face challenges and now will honestly be able to say, ‘I can do it’.”

After receiving proclamations from the town, the Massachusetts House and Senate as well as from Gov. Charlie Baker, Pizzi – who was wearing the winning medals from each continent she raced – kept her remarks short and sweet. 

After thanking her daughter – the race had been the longest period they had been separated in their lives – family and friends, Pizzi the response from everyone before and during the races “makes me fortunate that I am a Belmontian, and I could never have done this without your support.”

Pizzi would then head inside the Belmont Savings Bank main branch to sign countless autographs, be interviewed by all of Boston’s television stations and bask in the spotlight reserved for local heroes. 

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On Sunday, Pizzi Starts Her Adventure of a Lifetime … All In One Week

Photo: Becca Pizzi with Belmont Saving’s CEO Bob Mahoney.

Just reading about Becca Pizzi’s typical day for the past year is exhausting.

The 35-year-old lifelong Belmont resident gets up before the sun comes up to run more miles in one morning than most people do in a week, gets her daughter ready for school, manages a child-care business, then heads over to run Moozy’s Ice Cream shop on Trapelo Road, be back for her daughter, goes back to complete work, before heading off for a quick hour of CrossFit or some other exhausting hardcore exercise program. Then back home for some down time with her daughter before popping off to bed.

It would not stretch one’s imagination to know the 1996 Belmont High grad is seen at the starting line of the Boston Marathon (3 hours, 25 minute PR) and other road races, running in the top ten percent of not just the women’s field but among men in the races.

But the challenge facing her in the next week is one that is more daunting than any other athletic accomplishment on her resume. It begins today, Sunday, Jan. 17 with a long-distance flight to Chile where Pizzi joins 11 men and three women traveling 32,000 miles in 70 hours and running 183 miles in a week participating in the second World Marathon Challenge.

Pizzi is attempting to be the first American woman to complete the around-the-world course. “This by far the toughest test I’ve ever put myself through,” said Pizzi at a public send-off at the Belmont Savings Bank’s headquarters in Belmont Center.

“This by far the toughest test I’ve ever put myself through,” said Pizzi at a public send-off at the Belmont Savings Bank’s headquarters in Belmont Center on Thursday, Jan. 14.

“But I’m looking forward to this test of endurance and strength and representing [Belmont],” she said

At the celebration which included ice cream (from Moozy’s, of course) and autograph posters of Pizzi, who spoke to half a dozen media outlets and a steady stream of admirers and family who came to wish her well. 

“It was just seemed like an amazing confluence of events,” said Robert Mahoney, CEO and president of Belmont Savings Bank. “We have a customer who is a mom and a neighbor who is going to run for a while, for seven days. Oh, and did I mention the seven continents and run 26 miles each day.”

“And that struck me as an extraordinary event that we should somehow celebrate and make it an even better event,” said Mahoney, presenting Pizzi a $1,000 check made out to the Belmont Food Pantry, the local anti-hunger non-profit Pizzi asked to receive the funds.

When Pizzi returns, the bank will sponsor a welcome home celebration and a student/parent lecture by Pizzi on the importance of goals and endurance. 

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On Jan. 23, 2016, Pizzi will be in Union Glacier, Antarctica, to run the first of seven marathons on consecutive days. After running with spikes on her shoes in zero degree temperatures (that’s if it’s a “nice day” said Pizzi), she’ll be on her way to:

  • Punta Arenas, Chile;
  • Miami;
  • Madrid;
  • Marrakech, Morocco;
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and finally
  • Sydney.

“The best way to describe it as ‘eat, sleep, run, fly, repeat’,” she said.

You can follow Pizzi’s trek around the world by going to the Belmont Savings Bank web page.

Daughter of Susan and Fred Pizzi (the long-time owner of Lawndale Realty that recently merged with Century 21) heard of the challenge just over a year ago before the inaugural race took place. 

“The moment I heard about it, I knew I wanted to do this, I had to do this,” said Pizzi. 

The first concern was finding sponsors to foot the $39,000 entry fee that includes all air flights, lodging, supplies and a support staff to help the runners. Her three major sponsors are the Lyon-Waush Auto Group, Dr. Cool and Ultima Replenisher while LuluLemon and Swift Socks are apparel suppliers. 

But this is no cake walk even for someone as physically strong as Pizzi. Even the event’s website warned participants of “marathon fatigue, jet lag, and sleep deprivation as the event progress.” In addition, there will be changeable environments from brutally cold in Antarctica to the desert heat of Dubai. 

Pizzi has been putting herself through the extended training regiment “because I know I’m going to be running on tired legs and I just have to get used to it.” She is aiming to finish each marathon in approximately 3 hours and 50 minutes.

Pizzi said she’ll have the company of the three women competitors, who all happen to be mothers. The other women have an advantage in the event’s first race as each has participated and two have won marathons held on Antarctica or the North Pole.

The worst part? Being away from her daughter, who she will Skype each day. 

So why put yourself through all this? 

“I’m doing this to inspire the world that you can do anything that you put your mind to,” she said.

Belmont Savings Sending Pizzi Off On Her World Marathon Challenge Thursday

Photo: Becca Pizzi.

Belmont Savings Bank is sponsoring a “meet and greet” with Belmont resident Becca Pizzi, who 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.

The public send-off will be held Thursday, Jan. 14, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Belmont Savings Bank main branch at 2 Leonard St. in Belmont Center.

The event will afford well-wishers an opportunity to receive an autograph poster from Becca, as well as complimentary ice cream from Moozy’s on Trapelo Road, where Pizzi is a manager. Becca will also be available to pose for pictures.

The bank will donate $500 to Becca’s charity of choice, the Belmont Food Pantry, after she completes the fourth of seven marathons. The bank will make a second $500 donation after she completes the final marathon.

World Marathon Challenge participant Becca Pizzi, who will participate in seven marathons over a weeklong span:

  • Jan. 23: Union Glacier, Antarctica
  • Jan. 24: Punta Arenas, Chile
  • Jan. 25: Miami
  • Jan. 26: Madrid
  • Jan. 27: Marrakech, Morocco
  • Jan. 28: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Jan. 29: Sydney, Australia