BECCA PIZZI

Running is in my DNA. My dad is a runner and inspired me to start running when I was 6 years old. I ran my first race when I was 7. I have not stopped running since, competing through college and running 52 marathons in 26 US states. I am currently on the 50 States Marathon Journey. I love running and sharing my passion with others, I volunteer as a coach, and coach with Team in Training and Boston Fit. I am also a Pace Setter for Beast Pacing.

Running permeates every aspect of my life – I’m a Mom… my daughter is 7 seven and ran her first race in 2014. I’m a sister… my twin sisters are also accomplished runners. I’m a Bostonian… I have run 16 Boston Marathons and won’t ever stop. I’m a friend… I have built lifelong friendships over miles of training. I’m a business owner… I own a daycare and manage an ice cream shop, both in my hometown, Belmont MA! I’m every runner… a real person that faces the challenges of everyday life, while making time for the sport that I am so passionate about.

In January 2016, I became the first American female to complete The World Marathon Challenge, an event that consists of 7 marathons, in 7 days, on 7 continents.  I was able to set an event record as the fastest female to complete the race. The physical and mental demands of this race were an awesome test of endurance. The race and representing the USA as the first American female runner meant everything to me. But above all, I did this race to show my daughter that anything is possible, and to inspire people!

My goals for 2016 include running the Boston Marathon for the 16th time, and continuing on my quest to run a marathon in every state!

SARAH CANNEY

Sarah Canney is the girl behind RunFarGirl.com where she blogs about motherhood, running and healthy living. Mom to three little ones, the youngest who arrived in May 2015, Sarah takes them along with her on runs whenever she can in their new triple stroller. Sarah is an avid runner with eight marathons and slew of half marathons under her belt, and is a certified running coach with the RRCA and USATF. She recently improved her marathon time by 23 minutes, running 3:25 at the Sugarloaf Marathon in Maine.  When the weather turns cold in her native state of New Hampshire, she straps on the snowshoes and runs the trails near her home. She qualified for the National Snowshoe Running Championships in 2014. Sarah is a blogger for Women’s Running Magazine and her writing has also been published by Runner’s World’s Zelle.com. Sarah is active in the New Hampshire running community and was recently named by Foster’s Daily Democrat as one of four NH Running Bloggers to follow. She is also on Twitter and Instagram as @runfargirl.

CHERYL HILE

My husband, Brian, says I am like a sports car:  My engine is powerful and has the ability to run for a long time.  However, some of the insulation has been stripped from the wires causing a weak electrical current to the spark plugs.  No matter how hard the gas pedal is pressed, the plugs don’t spark vigorously and the car does not run as well as it should.  That is what it is like living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

In October 2006 I was diagnosed with MS.  Within a year, demyelination had weakened the electrical signal from my brain to my right shin. Because of that, I constantly felt like I was going to stub my toes while walking or running. During a race, I started tripping and falling, and finished the run with bloody knees.  Soon after, I learned the falling was due to drop foot, a common symptom of MS.  I wanted to find a way to keep running but my neurologist told me to “lower my expectations.”  Those words did not sit well with me so I searched on my own for a new way to rev my engine.

I was fortunate to find an awesome orthotist who customized a carbon ankle-foot orthotic (AFO) for me.  It holds my forefoot up at a six degree angle so I no longer fall.  It is because of this that I have been able to continue running.  Almost ten years have passed since my diagnosis and I have completed more than 30 marathons, with Brian at my side and the AFO strapped to my leg.  This is important to me because running is a physical link to the days before I had MS.

I know I am luckier than many MS patients.  I have maintained relatively good health and am able to keep doing my sport.  It is, however, significantly more difficult now.  I am slower than before and sometimes it is hard to get moving as fluently.  My ability is compromised not only by dropfoot but also by other exacerbations that have affected my right thigh.  Due to these newer lesions I am now unable to lift my right foot more than a few inches off the ground and my leg feels heavier.  On bad days it feels like I am pulling my leg through mud.

In spite of it, my mantra is “do what I can and never give up.”  These words motivate me to keep registering for races, and encourages me to put the pedal to the metal all the way to the finish line.  My goal is to be the first person living with MS to run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 12 months.  I am definitely not lowering my expectations!  By doing this, I hope to inspire people never to lower theirs. I want to encourage others, with or without MS, they should do what they can and never give up!

I am currently fundraising via CrowdRise for travel expenses because traveling to 7 marathons (with my husband/running partner) is a huge expense!  Especially Antarctica. Please visit my page at CrowdRise. Any donation, small or large, will be of great help. Please know that any funds donated above and beyond our travel needs (we are very frugal) will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

https://www.crowdrise.com/1stPersonWithMStoRun7on7in12

Anticipated Marathon Schedule

September 2016 Cape Town

October 2016 Buenos Aires

December 2016 Honolulu

January 2017 Antarctica

February 2017 Tokyo

April 2017 London

June 2017 Christchurch

JANA RICHTROVA

Jana signed up for her first sprint triathlon in May of 2009, and never looked back. What started as a fun way to stay active quickly turned into a lifestyle. She swiftly transitioned from sprint triathlons, to Olympic distance triathlons in 2009, and then to taking on her first Half Ironman (70.3) in 2010. By 2012, Jana had completed her first full Ironman!

Jana is no stranger to competition. While growing up in the Czech Republic, she played basketball for years. After graduating from high school, she moved to the United States and received a Division I basketball scholarship to play at New York University at Buffalo. This naturally competitive and driven nature is what drove Jana to try out triathlons post grad.

In 2013, Jana was undefeated in the 30-34 Age Group, winning the overall amateur title at most of her races including winning the 1st Overall Amateur Ironman title at IM Cozumel. In 2014, she set a new PR for all Olympic, 70.3 and 140.6 distances, and finished 6th in her age group in both 70.3 and 140.6 World Championship races. In 2015, Jana achieved had her best season yet, finishing 2nd in her Age Group, and 11th Overall Amateur at the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. These accomplishments are just the beginning for Jana, and she can’t wait to reach the next step!

Triathlons have challenged Jana in every aspect of my life, and have taught her that it’s never too late to go after your dreams. Its showed her that anything is possible if you are willing to fight for it, be committed, and make sacrifices. Triathlons continue to teach Jana that consistency and patience are what matters more than just pure athleticism.

Connect with Jana on:

www.instagram.com/czechchick15

www.facebook.com/czechchick15

www.twitter.com/czechchick15

Blog:

www.czechchick15.blogspot.com