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.