Daniel Cartica, Becca Pizzi run 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents

BOSTON -- Two American endurance athletes have just redefined the meaning of the term "globe-trotter."

Daniel Cartica, of Chicago, and Becca Pizzi, of Belmont, Massachusetts, won the World Marathon Challenge on Friday, completing seven marathons in seven days on all seven continents.

Both did it in world-record time and became the first U.S. competitors to win the strength-sapping event.

Cartica, a U.S. Marine Corps captain, and Pizzi, a day care center operator, finished with a marathon in Sydney. They and 13 others began Jan. 23 with a marathon in Antarctica and on consecutive days ran the 26.2-mile distance in Chile, Miami, Spain, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

They now join a club more elite than those who have voyaged into space or scaled Mount Everest.

"We just made history," Pizzi told The Associated Press. "I believed in myself since the moment I signed up for it. I went for it and got it done. When you believe in yourself, anything is possible."

Competitors squeezed the seven marathons in a span of 168 hours -- 59 of those spent trying to recover aboard the charter flight that shuttled them 23,560 miles to all the continents.

Along the way, they had to cope with extreme cold and heat as well as wildly varying running surfaces: snow in Antarctica, sand in the Sahara.

Cartica, 27, who grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York, dedicated his run to the four Marines and sailor killed in July when a gunman attacked a U.S. Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Pizzi, 35, was the first woman across the finish line in all seven races.

Her highs? "Antarctica and running on glaciers."

Her lows? "Antarctica and the cold. It was my favorite place and my least favorite place."