Cheers and Charity: Running in the 127th Boston Marathon

Timothy Liu plans on running the Chicago Marathon in October.

Terrell “T.I.” Ivory ’00 ran for the Shamrock Foundation in the Boston Marathon.

Three members of the Andover community — Terrell “T.I” Ivory ’00, Associate Director of DEI Outreach & Associate Director of Admission, Timothy Liu, Assistant Director of Admissions, and Sam Baum ’23 — completed the 127th Boston Marathon on Monday.

With over 30,000 participants and 500,000 spectators, the Boston Marathon serves as the world’s oldest annual marathon. First started in April 1897 with only 15 runners, the Boston Marathon is one of the most prestigious marathons to qualify for. While many runners meet time requirements to qualify, others are sponsored by charities to participate.

After surviving a serious car accident in the summer of 2019, Ivory made it his mission to run a marathon. He ran his first marathon two years ago, with half-marathons intermittently. Despite being an inexperienced runner at first, Ivory used built-in training programs on the Nike Run Club app to prepare him for his first marathon.  

“I wasn’t necessarily a runner, if that means anything and then it really was something that I took up after I got in a car accident. And so for me I was struggling in a lot of different ways. And in order to help me sort of push towards a goal, I decided on a whim that I would love to run a marathon, it was something I had never done before… And so it was something that [made] me feel motivated, made me feel like I was going to be okay,” said Ivory.

After the Covid-19 surge in 2020, Liu sought running as a way to de-stress and meditate. Initially a short distance runner and long jumper in high school, Liu joined the Andover admissions team in 2021 while simultaneously preparing for his first marathon. 

“I started getting into long distance running, [which] was started mostly by [Covid-19]. And being in a small apartment with a young toddler at the time, and having a need to sort of get out and have my own space and time. So I started two years ago, just from zero basically. I remember my first run out, I did two miles on the track, and it took me 28 minutes or so. And I was really sore the next day. But I just kept working up from there, and eventually ran a marathon,” said Liu. 

Representing the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Stepping Strong Marathon Team, Baum finished his first marathon in just three hours and 49 minutes on Monday.

“My experience with marathons has been with my dad primarily, who has run it five times… And I kind of looked at it as a really great accomplishment and something that I’d want to do. And when I was older, and kind of having that in mind, I got into running on my own, and I did cross country for three years. And then I decided that this would be a perfect year wiith that being the first year that I’m eligible for the race to do it before I go off to college,” said Baum.

In 2022, Ivory was diagnosed with Lyme disease, which prevented him from participating in the New York Half-Marathon. In spite of these challenges, Ivory’s tenaciousness in partnership with the Shamrock Foundation earned him a finish in the Boston Marathon. 

“[Doctors] thought I tore my meniscus, but it ended up being Lyme disease… And so my knees started to feel a little bit bad. And I’ve been doing a lot of physical rehab and things like that. And I probably wasn’t ready to do this to my full ability, because I wasn’t able to train because of the knee injury. But once I was able to find a way through the Boston Celtics in the Shamrock Foundation to get a sponsorship and raise money, I wasn’t going to not do this,” said Ivory.

Through the help of Chris Sparks, Senior Director of Youth Basketball Development at the Boston Celtics, Ivory gained a connection to the Shamrock Foundation. Through the foundation, Ivory raised money for underprivileged kids to gain access to sports. 

“As a basketball coach, as a person who played a lot of sports growing up, I think sports [are] so important and I think you can learn a lot of life lessons, but it also is a really good distraction from a lot of the awful stuff that goes on in the world. And being able to provide an opportunity for kids who may not have access to those opportunities is something that I think is really important to me. It made sense that the Celtics were able to work with that organization. It made me even happier to be doing something that seemed really close to something that I love,” said Ivory.

Founded after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the Stepping Strong Center serves as a site for catalyzing multidisciplinary research in trauma injuries. Baum selected this charity to show support to his cousin, who recently suffered an accident.   

“The charity was originally created by one of the families of the victim of the Boston bombings, whose leg was miraculously saved to the advanced trauma care through Mass General and Brigham transmittals in Boston… It [was] meaningful due to my cousin who had recently suffered in a motorcycle accident. And he was severely injured. And he is still recovering. But thankfully, he was transported to somewhere where he was able to get the care he needed, and will continually get the care he needs,” said Baum.

26.2 miles later, all three runners completed the Boston Marathon course, which spans through eight different cities. Ivory noted the importance of support he received from the crowd, helping him get through the final stretch on Boylston Street.

“[The people] didn’t know my name, but they were like, “Go Celtics.” These were strangers, they didn’t know who I was. They wanted me to do well. They understood what I was doing and how challenging it was. And they were there to support me and to me, that’s everything…because there were times when I was like, “There’s no way I could finish this.” But you see those people out there, and they’re supporting you, and I finished a lot of it because of those supportive strangers… It’s a part of humanity that I absolutely love,” said Ivory.