Marathon Memories

This February, Shirley Parry PhD ’17 became one of only 41 women and 97 men to ever complete the World Marathon Challenge: seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. While doing so, she raised more than $77,000 for the Orthopaedic Institute for Children (OIC). Read more about her adventures below, and on her blog (

Antarctica (Novo)

Due to the cold, my iPhone battery died after mile seven and I ran the rest of the course in silence—the only sound was our feet hitting the snow and ice.

Africa (Cape Town)

I will never forget the intense heat and utter lack of shade on the course. Volunteers at the aid stations dunked our caps in ice water and we lathered on sunscreen every 90 minutes.

Australia (Perth)

The race started at midnight, but there was a sizable welcoming party. A beautiful sunrise welcomed us at the finish line.

Asia (Dubai)

After 14 out of 15 laps, the officials pulled out the finishing tape by mistake. I struggled to hold back tears of frustration, but a volunteer’s encouragement hardened my resolve to finish that last lap.

Europe (Madrid)

By now, many of us were nursing myriad types of minor and not-so-minor injuries. I can now boast that I have run on a grand prix racetrack, with a steep camber built to maintain speed for F1 cars, but that wreaked havoc on ankles and leg muscles.

South America (Santiago)

This was an emotional run, because we were getting to the end. Afterward, we had to walk almost half a mile to shower at a boxing gym, but by the time I got there, all the hot water was used up.

North America (Miami)

I was floored to see OIC’s Senior VP of Development with a patient and her parents to cheer me on with beautiful handmade signs. My dad died between my Antarctica and Africa marathons, so I ran this last race with his name written on my shirt. This whole challenge is dedicated in loving memory to him.


“Lose Yourself”
by Eminem
The beat is strong and I can go into a zone.
by Katy Perry
It makes me run stronger and faster.
“Bye Bye Bye”
When I am tired at mile 23, this is a great pick-me-up. At the end, I soon say “bye bye bye” to the course.
“We Are the Champions”
by Queen
During the last miles of my last two marathons, I sang this at the top of my lungs in the middle of the night!
“The Story”
by Brandi Carlile
I think it is about me. I want to tell my daughters my stories and I hope they will want to listen.

Read more about Shirley Parry PhD ’17.