Pat Shea made sure he had his Ready to Run shirt on for the Antarctica Marathon

How far will a Ready to Run long sleeve shirt go? To the ends of the earth, quite literally. Pat Shea, who moved to Austin from Denver last October, has been on a mission to run a marathon in every continent. He started in 2017 with the Stockholm Marathon, then ran marathons in Singapore, Patagonia, and Cape town. And on February 6, he added Antarctica, where he came in second, wearing—you guessed it—his Ready to Run shirt.

“I’d run in high school and college, but took a long running break from 2005-2013,” said Shea, 47. “Then around 2013, I realized how much I missed running. I used to think I always had to set PRs, but the second time around, I realized there were plenty of other goals. Right now, one of my goals is to run a marathon in each continent.”

While it’s hard to pick the most memorable of the marathons, Shea said, “Patagonia was just breathtaking, but it was a tough course.”

Speaking of tough courses, Antarctica proved to be surprisingly challenging. For starters, there’s the journey to the continent. Shea, a financial analyst for the University of Colorado, traveled to Ushuaia in Argentina where he embarked on a two-day boat ride to get to the continent. Ushuaia, at the tip of South America, is often referred to as the “end of the world.” Travelers to Antarctica by boat must cross the Drake passage, known to have some of the roughest seas on the globe.

Fortunately, Shea didn’t fall victim to the seasickness that plagued many of the other passengers and arrived on King George Island to find relatively mild conditions: clear and 37 degrees.

However, the course presented its own challenges. Melting snow had caused the dirt trails that made up the course to turn to mud.

“It was basically just a dirt trail, but the course was super muddy and very slippery,” said Shea, a former high school miler/two-miler (4:39; 9:59). “At one point the mud even sucked one of my shoes off, and I had to go back and get it. The first couple of miles, we knew what we were in for. We had to run through cold streams, and it was hilly as well.”

Shea, who has a marathon best of 2:50:06, was ready for anything though. “I had three layers and was ready for really cold weather. The course was a four-and-a-half-mile loop, which we ran six times, so you could shed clothes along the way. It was about 37 degrees, and no real wind. So it wasn’t bad at all.”

After the first loop, Shea was warm enough to be comfortable in his trusty Ready to Run shirt, a hat, and running pants. “I love the long-sleeve Ready to Run shirt and wanted to wear it in the race, and the weather cooperated. I liked it so much, I got shirts for family members as well,” said Shea.

While the going was rough, Shea dug deep and found himself in a lead group with three other runners. Then he broke away and realized he was in second place.

“It was really tough,” said Shea. “The first four miles felt like ten miles. It’s a one-shot deal—I waited four years on the wait list so I made sure I backed off the pace in order to finish.”

Shea ended up running 4:09:43 and coming in second behind Ryan Beberus’ winning time of 3:58:07. “There were about one hundred people running in the marathon. I didn’t care about the time, I was just hoping to place in the top three,” said Shea.

Only one more to go! Shea figures he’ll wrap up all the continents with the Blackmores Sydney Marathon in Australia on September 18, 2022.

Upcoming Races: Sunday March 13 at 9:00 a.m., the Spring Sprint 5K/10K at Berry Springs Park Preserve in Georgetown. Saturday, March 19 at 8:00 a.m., St. Paddy’s Day 5K at Rockin’ R River Rides in Gruene.