Thayer’s Barry savors London Marathon experience

Thayer’s Barry savors London Marathon experience

Ella Barry ‘24 watched a TikTok video which noted that less than 1% of people on the planet have completed a marathon. 

Suitably inspired, she is now a member of that select company. 

Ella Barry '24 after completing the London Marathon

“I said, ‘I can do that,’” recalled Barry, who ran the London Marathon this spring cheered on by her parents and several other family members. The recent graduate completed the iconic race in five hours, 55 minutes, and 16 seconds. Barry has “a thing” with numbers, she said, and her birthday falls on the 16th, so she took the finish time as a positive sign. 

“I’m not a fast runner,” said Barry, who added that two of the many reasons she chose the London Marathon was its super-flat course and its generous time limit of eight hours to finish. The London Marathon is one of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors. In addition to London, the list includes Boston, Tokyo, Berlin, New York, and Chicago. 

While running the 26.2 miles was a personal goal, Barry also ran for something bigger than herself. She raised funds for the Herren Project, a nonprofit which helps people recover from and treat the disease of addiction. She raised $9,265 (and counting) for a cause she said is dear to her heart. In fact, Barry first heard of the Herren Project when Chris Herren, the former Durfee High School basketball legend who made it to the NBA but has been quite open about his struggles with addiction, addressed the Middle School. 

“It was incredibly engaging,” said Barry. The talk, she said, struck a chord, allowing her to both recognize the disease in her own family while seeing, for the first time, the big picture of substance abuse disorder and its devastating impacts. 

“Addiction is a real disease, and it’s something I’m passionate about,” she said. “I believe everyone deserves recovery.” 

Barry did much of her training on the treadmill at the Weymouth Club, and she credited her longtime cross-training there as a big help, especially in the prevention of injuries. She saved her long runs for the weekends along the trails at Union Point in Weymouth. Sometimes her dad would join her on the long runs. 

The marathon itself, said Barry, was nothing short of fantastic. The incredibly supportive crowd included her dad, who called her three times during the race with words of encouragement, and the running route included such gems as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the historic sailing ship Cutty Sark. Barry, whose mantra for the day was “Take it slow and take it in,” broke down in happy tears when they placed the medal around her neck.

“There’s no other feeling like it,” she said. “I will never forget crossing that finish line.” 

Barry was a member of Thayer’s varsity crew while still finding time to be vice president of Student Government, yearbook editor, a Benelli Writing Center fellow, a peer advisor, co-president of Model UN, and co-president of the Habitat for Humanity service club. She was elected Senior Class Speaker by her classmates and offered remarks at Thayer’s Commencement exercises June 8. 

This fall Barry will major in communications with a business-centered minor as a member of the Santa Clara University Honors Program.

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