— -- Milla Bizzotto is a rising star in the world of obstacle course racing as the youngest competitor ever to complete the BattleFrog Xtreme 24-hour race, a course designed by Navy SEALs.
She’s in the gym Monday through Friday for at least three hours. She has several coaches and a sports medicine doctor to keep her on track. The catch? Milla is only 9 years old.
Christian Bizzotto, Milla's dad and one of her coaches, calls his daughter nothing short of “mind-blowing.”
Christian is the co-founder of Focused Movement Academy in Miami, a gym that provides fitness coaching and programming. Though Milla always loved hanging out at the gym after school, she started to really get into fitness after she was bullied by some of her classmates.
The gym became a sort of after-school program for Milla, and she started training for obstacle course races.
In November, she completed a BattleFrog 15K, followed by a Spartan Sprint in December. This month, Milla was the youngest competitor in BattleFrog’s 24-hour race designed by Navy SEALs. The race includes "running 36 miles, swimming an 8-kilometer course, and 25 obstacles, for six laps."
“How [Milla] perceives herself is completely different than six months ago,” Christian told ABC News.
He said his daughter never even had to physically fight the schoolyard bullies. Instead, when Milla found an understanding of how powerful she is, the bullying stopped all on its own.
“She owns that,” Christian said.
Milla’s own success has inspired her to lead an anti-bullying campaign and encourage other kids to become more active.
"I do racing to inspire kids that they have a special side of them and to get them off the couch," she told ABC News.
As for the bullies who teased her? Milla has some choice words for them: "Look who's talking now!"
Focused Movement Academy now offers a “Spartan Kids” program after school, designed to help kids conquer any obstacle.
Christian said the kids have become his favorite trainees.
“They break barriers holding them back,” he said.
The training they learn in the gym to conquer obstacles in a race becomes applicable to overcoming real-life obstacles like a paper at school or a disagreement with a sibling, he said.
Milla’s success has received some criticism, but Christian said he never pushes his daughter to go to the gym. He also said her doctors have no issue with her training, and one even attended her BFX24 race.
“He’s such a fan of hers,” Christian said of the doctor.
Christian believes everyone should be able to run a marathon, saying human bodies are made for endurance running, unlike any other creature in the world.
He changed his own life, deciding to lose weight and live a healthy life, when Milla was young.
“I had this little kid who looked up to me,” he said. “You’re their everything.” Christian wanted to be her “superhero.”
Now, Milla is inspiring her own generation to change their lives by getting off the couch and outside to play. Next up, she will run the invitation-only Athlete Race in Miami, which includes a 6-kilometer paddle board and 5-kilometer run. And in August, she will travel to Hawaii for the Spartan Trifecta.
In Christian’s words, Milla is proving that “impossible is nothing.”