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Framingham: Becca Pizzi to headline United Way charity race

By Jonathan Dame
Daily News Staff

FRAMINGHAM – Last year, Becca Pizzi ran seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.

Temperatures ranged from -4 degrees in Antarctica to 77 degrees in Australia. In Dubai, two miles into her sixth race, she tore a groin muscle. None of it stopped her from becoming the first American woman to complete the World Marathon Challenge.

So for Pizzi, a 3.1-mile course through the streets of North Framingham in late June should be pretty manageable.

“I think I can do it,” the 37-year-old said.

Pizzi, who lives in Belmont, is headlining the United Way of Tri-County’s inaugural MetroWest Corporate 5K on June 29. The race will support the nonprofit’s mental health services, preschool literacy program, and three food pantries.

“I love to give back to the community and help out,” Pizzi said. “I was honored and I love doing this type of thing.”

Pizzi is now working to run a marathon in every U.S. state, with just 20 states remaining on her list. In April, she ran the Boston Marathon for the 17th time.

Framingham-based United Way of Tri-County organizes an annual road race for individuals every October. The race later this month is, instead, geared toward the corporate world.

“It’s the first time we’ve tried it and it’s really a pretty neat concept and we’re hoping to make it an annual event,” said Paul Mina, the nonprofit’s president and CEO.

United Way of Tri-County’s food pantries and cafes in Framingham, Marlborough and Clinton served more than 20,000 people last year, providing nearly 89,000 bags of groceries and more than 24,000 hot meals.

Call2Talk, its mental health and suicide hotline, answered around 28,000 calls last year, while its Ready to Read program provided books to more than 100 preschool children in Framingham and Milford, according to Mina.

Around 15 companies have already registered teams of employees to participate in the June 29 event, which will include food, beer and music, said Cristina Brennan, corporate engagement manger for United Way of Tri-County.

J.P. Morgan hosts a similar corporate 5K even in Boston every year. United Way of Tri-County decided to bring the fundraising model to the MetroWest area. Brennan said there was also a way for individuals to participate.

“The premise of the whole thing is just to have the companies come for a fun night out, hang out with their co-workers,” Brennan said. “But you’re also helping raise money for the local community.”

The race begins at 6:30 p.m. at 1 Nicholas Road, Framingham. For more information, visit www.uwotc.org/corp5k or call 508-370-4826.