One 12-year-old Latina from California is busy running around the world - literally - pursuing her dream of becoming the youngest female runner to complete seven marathons in seven different continents.
Blanca Ramirez, of La Puente, California will complete her record on February 15, after running a marathon in Antarctica.
“I came to my dad with the idea of doing this two years ago after running in Disneyland. He thought I was crazy, but after a while he let me because he thought I could do it. So, I’m doing it,” said the 7th grader to NBC News.
Dimas Ramirez recalls his youngest daughter asking him to complete this world record and thought she was just joking around at first.
“It seemed like it was something impossible,” said the proud dad, who is a California native of Mexican (from Guadalajara) descent. “I told her to prove to me she could run a marathon. She ran a 5K, then a 10K and a half marathon and then I let her do the Los Angeles Marathon,” he said.
This is where her journey started. Blanca has run in Rwanda, New Zealand Paraguay, China, and most recently her sixth marathon was in Paris, France.
She said her most memorable and most challenging race was in New Zealand.
"New Zealand was the most challenging because there were a lot of mountains and hills to run up and down on,” she said.
Her upcoming run comes with different challenges. “Keeping warm is going to be hard. I hate the cold,” she said. Dad will be running along her side in about 30 degree weather, an average temperature for summers in Antarctica.
Blanca said the thing she is most excited about after finishing the race is to get to go back home to her bed and rest.
All the travel and race costs have been self-funded by the Ramirez family.
“We’ve had to cut back on some things along the way,” said Dimas Ramirez, who works in real estate. “But, I didn’t want money to be an obstacle for her not to pursue her dream.”
He said that he has seen growth in his daughter’s confidence aside from her newly formed athleticism. “
This California girl is not only running to complete a world record. As she states in her Team Blanca web page, she also hopes to bring awareness to one organization, Operation Smile, a non-profit that provides free surgeries to repair, cleft palate and other facial deformities for children around the globe.
“I want to see every kid smile,” she said.
After completing the marathon and returning to the states, Blanca will go back to school and her normal routine. But, she does have a new goal in mind, running a marathon in all 50 states.