The Tour de France route is hard enough on a bike, so doing it by foot would be impossible, right?
Don't tell that to Zoe Romano, the 26-year-old American who is running the route this summer. Romano, a Spanish tutor from Richmond, Va., started her journey on May 18 in Nice and plans to finish in Paris a day before the peloton. That's 2,000 miles in nine weeks, or 30 miles a day. And, oh yeah, she'll be climbing up more than 100,000 feet of elevation, or the equivalent of scaling Mt. Everest three times.
Romano could become the first person to do the route by foot.
"It's the Tour, known as one of the world's toughest races, and it has so much history and pride behind it," she told ESPNW. "To do it on my own as a runner, I figured that would really test me and what I conceived to be my physical limitations."
During her run, Romano is raising money for the World Pediatric Project, an international nonprofit that works with critically ill children in developing countries. Romano has raised more than $125,000 so far.
Romano is no stranger to endurance runs, having completed a transcontinental run from California to South Carolina in 2011 (she was the first woman to do the journey unsupported). After that run Romano decided she wanted another adventure, and she considered running across Iceland. Once she deemed that "too safe," she settled on the Tour de France.
Romano is currently about halfway through the Tour de France route. Unlike the riders, she isn't spending her nights in luxury hotels. According to ESPNW, Romano has relied on websites like Couchsurfing.org and friends of friends to find housing.