SANDWICH — Going on a run six days a week is pretty much par for the course for Renee DeMarsh.
The endurance athlete plans to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents in early 2018.
Not only will she pursue a personal goal during the 2018 World Marathon Challenge, she will use the event to raise money for causes close to her heart.
The Carver Massachusetts physical education teacher and 1983 Groton-Dunstable Regional Secondary School graduate also coaches soccer at her school. She mentors in Big Brothers and Big Sisters on Cape Cod, where she lives in Sandwich.
DeMarsh, who was Renee Rice when she lived in Groton, is no stranger to physical challenges. Her first running race was up Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.
“That was a tough first race,” she said. “I really had no idea what I was doing.”
Unlike some of the other 60 runners on the trip, DeMarsh does not have a coach. She is training carefully and listening to what her body tells her as she prepares.
“I don’t want to get injured,” she said. “I want to finish.”
The trip itself would be a marathon, even without the races. Runners will snatch sleep during plane rides from continent to continent.
After leaving South Africa for the first run in Antarctica, the runners will not see a hotel room until they finish in Dubai, the fourth race on the program.
DeMarsh plans to keep in touch with her classes at school via Skype will she is on the road.
Her community will get another benefit from her endeavor.
“My goal now is mostly to fundraise,” DeMarsh said.
She is raising money for Big Brothers and Big Sisters and for an educational foundation to build a handicap accessible path at Carver Elementary School.
DeMarsh, who did not get into running until she was in her 30s, traces her love of athletics back to Groton-Dunstable. Top among her mentors were two basketball coaches, Peter O’Sullivan and Brian Walsh, and the guidance counselor who led the Outdoor Experience Program, Tom Pavlidis, “Mr. Pav.”
Paying for the trip is a challenge in itself. The single mother of two grown daughters took out a loan to pay for part. She is also lining up sponsors.
For more information about supporting DeMarsh and donating to the causes she supports visit dreamrunforkids.com.
Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter @a1oconnor.