TODAY

TODAY   |  August 13, 2013

To save lives, she’ll run 3,000 miles

Runner Zoe Romano, 26, plans to raise funds to save the lives of critically ill children by running 3,000 miles across the U.S. and then running the entire Tour de France route.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> whether you're running a marathon or a couple of times around the block it can be mentally and physically challenging to keep going.

>> but for one woman the challenges she faces as a runner pale in comparison to the children she runs for.

>> for 26-year-old zoe running is much more than a hobby. she fell in love with the sport as a student but propelled the passion into philanthropy. she ran nearly 2,000 mile across the u.s. alone becoming the first female to complete the trek without a support vehicle and raising 15,000 dollars for the boys and girls club of america . it became time to tackle a bigger goal.

>> i decided to run the tour de france . i wanted to do the ultimate marathon as the ultimate fund-raiser.

>> she decided to dedicate this race to the world pediatric project.

>> all kids should be a chance to be a kid and world pediatric project delivers medical care to children in need . they're working very long-term to really not just fix the medical problems that these children have but to prevent them from ever happening. that resinated with me.

>> zoe set the bar high.

>> $100,000 to me in the beginning felt as difficult fund-raising wise as running the tour de france felt physically.

>> but within a few months her fund-raising exceeded the goal she set.

>> reached that only halfway through the run was astounding and the response worldwide, people who wanted to support was very surprising, very touching.

>> over 30 miles a day she would run. her last day she ran 90 miles . had never run 90 miles before. it was a 24-hour run she did. she loves these challenges but then to know that she was doing it to help these other people out there and these mothers out there, it's just really remarkable.

>> recently zoe was able to travel down to belize to see where her hard work and dedication is going.

>> there was a young baby who needed surgery and couldn't get it in belize so i got to take part in a 7-person flight down to belize to pick up brian and his mom and fly them back to richmond for the surgery. what moves me was seeing his mom so worried and some what relieved that her child is getting help. i think when you see the families behind the patients it resinates more with you than when you just see the patients.

>> that's what motivates her to put one foot in front of the other.

>> thinking about the challenges the kids are going through and what their parents must be feel as good a motivator and me thinking all have to do is run 30 miles. it's not that difficult.

>> more than 500 donations later zoe has 18 days of running and fund-raising to go. we wish her continued luck and success. if you would like to donate as well you can go to today show.com.

>> that's truly an inspiration.