Maine native runs Tour de France courseAP , Associated Press
Jul. 18, 2013 11:40 AM ET
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine native is nearing the finish of the Tour de France race route — but not on two wheels.
Instead, 26-year-old Zoe Romano will be on her own two feet after running the 2,000-plus-mile bicycle course.
Romano has been running the course since mid-May with a goal of raising $150,000 for the World Pediatric Project, which is based in Richmond, Va., where she now lives. She's been averaging 30 miles a day at a pace of roughly nine minutes per mile.
Romano, who grew up in Portland and graduated from Portland High School in 2005, is accompanied by her boyfriend, Alexander Kreher, who's filming a documentary of her feat, taking photos and driving a support car with supplies.
She plans to run the final leg of the Tour de France course into Paris on Saturday, a day before the cyclists finish their race there.
Romano told the Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/13QvY7e ) in a phone interview that she's had doubts along the way whether she could finish. She's contended with grueling climbs and shin-pounding descents through the Pyrenees and the Alps, weeks of rain, and an encounter with a wild boar, all on top of the blisters, aches and pains that come with running that far.
"There hasn't been a day yet when I thought: 'I have this. I know I'll finish when I want to in a way I want to,'" she said. "Every day is still kind of a question mark."
The World Pediatric Project provides medical care to needy children in Central America and the Caribbean. Romano's original goal was $100,000, but as of Wednesday, supporters had pledged nearly $133,000.
After reaching Paris, Romano will travel to Corsica to complete her trek by running the route of the first three stages of the Tour de France.
The run isn't Romano's first long-distance trek.
In 2011, she ran more than 2,500 miles from California to South Carolina with a stroller filled with gear and food en route to raising $13,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com