As the world experiences unprecedented challenges during the COVID pandemic, small businesses across the nation have been fighting to keep their doors open. Brandt Ricca, owner of the Washington D.C-based Nora Lee by Brandt Ricca, has experienced the impact of the pandemic and wanted to give back to local entrepreneurs and small businesses.

On October 7th, Ricca will start a non-stop run of 100 miles to raise COVID relief funds for LGTBTQ+ businesses and entrepreneurs. Ricca plans to complete this ambitious journey within 48 hours. The run will benefit the Equality Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C., in partnership with Capital Pride Alliance. Local running experts, Pacers Running, will be sponsoring and designing his solo 100-mile route.

“I was looking for my next fitness endeavor and really wanted to push myself and have a goal to focus on outside of my business. Having had a first-hand experience of how tough it’s been, I also wanted to do something for my fellow small business owners during COVID,” said Ricca, who has been training outside and at Equinox Anthem Row in D.C. Preparation for the run commenced on February 1st of this year.

Ricca was inspired by fitness entrepreneur Brian Mazza, who ran 50 miles non-stop to raise awareness for male infertility stigma in December. Ricca reached out to Mazza, who signed on to guide his training with monthly programs and consultation. The training consists of daily mile goals, heart rate monitoring, pace and lifting. Mazza, with the creation of HPLT: High Performance Lifestyle Training, strives to push people to improve in all areas of their lives.

In partnership with Mazza, coach and nutritionist Jacob Zemer has designed a daily nutrition program for Ricca to prepare him for the 100-mile feat. Zemer, who is based out of NYC, uses science-based coaching methods and accountability to help people exceed their health and fitness goals.

Ricca plans to start the run at 6:00 a.m. on October 7th and run straight through, non-stop. He will have 48 hours to complete the 100 miles. His route, designed by Pacers Running, will be taking him on tour throughout the D.C., Maryland and Virginia region.

Ricca, who is from Louisiana, owns creative branding agency Nora Lee by Brandt Ricca, named after his entrepreneur grandmother. Nora Lee delivers creative concepts in the form of photography and video content to brands and businesses looking to execute out-of-the-box marketing. Later this year, Ricca has a children’s book series coming out, The Barris Books.