Earlier this week, Bret Parker, executive director of the New York City Bar Association, completed the World Marathon Challenge, competing in and finishing seven marathons in seven days on seven continents.
After embarking on his first marathon in the challenge in Antarctica on Jan 30, Parker started and finished his last race in Miami on Monday. In between he finished marathons in Cape Town, South Africa; Perth, Australia; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Lisbon, Portugal; and Cartagena, Colombia.
The race was “completely difficult, both physically and mentally,” Parker said in an interview on Thursday. “It was really hard but such an adventure. It was a great experience to be able to see all these places in one week.”
He said he has bruises and blisters on his feet and a sore hip but is “doing pretty well” considering the last week. He said he will be back in the city bar office on Monday.
While Parker, 49, raced with up to 50 other participants, he was the only runner with Parkinson’s disease. His goal was to increase awareness of Parkinson’s and raise money for research. As of midday Thursday, Parker had raised more than $210,000, surpassing an $180,000 goal.
Parker’s efforts support The Michael J. Fox Foundation, an organization focused on finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Parker is part of a community fundraising effort called Team Fox that includes thousands of members who raise money and awareness for the foundation through events and athletic feats each year.
“I would do it again, I don’t want to do it again, but I would do it again,” Parker said in a post-race video Monday. “There were a couple days where I started to wonder if I could really do it. This team picked me up, and then a couple days ago, I realized there was no way I was going to let myself down—let all these people down—and not finish.”
Before moving to the city bar in 2013, Parker was an associate general counsel at cosmetics and fragrance company Elizabeth Arden Inc. and had served as vice president and assistant general counsel at Wyeth, now part of Pfizer, and assistant general counsel at Colgate-Palmolive. He previously worked in private practice at Dorsey & Whitney and now-dissolved firm Townley & Updike before going in-house in 1997.