We are so proud of our team of Boston Marathon runners, each of whom has a unique story full of personal connections to TCR and strong motivations for running. We hope you took some time to read about the other four members of this year’s marathon team: Alex Ebling, John Fleming, Jared Huber, and Tim O’Brien.

Now we are proud to introduce you to the rest of our team: James O’Leary, Shane Richardson, John Shea, and Antonio Willis-Berry.

James O'LearyJames O’Leary

James is a Harvard resident who has a deeply personal connection to our mission: his mother died in 1992 while James was still in high school. As James notes, “I vividly recall my feelings when it was announced over the PA system at my high school. The first few weeks were a blur. I understood what happened; however, there were still many questions and feelings which I did not clearly understand or clearly verbalize.”

Today, James joins our Boston Marathon team in order to run in memory of his mom and in honor of his dad. “I had a good family circle. I had a good group of friends from church. But it wasn’t until I was invited to a high school support group of kids who had lost a parent that I began to feel safe and to vocalize the feelings which I was experiencing about my mother’s death,” James says. “This is why I’ve chosen to run the Boston Marathon for TCR. Running the Boston Marathon for The Children’s Room will provide more children a safe, supportive community so no child, teen, or family has to grieve alone.”

Shane RichardsonShane Richardson

Shane, a resident of Cary, North Carolina, is an experienced marathoner—this will be his fifth marathon! However, this will be the first marathon he’s run in order to support a cause to which he feels so strongly connected.

Shane runs this year’s Boston Marathon in memory of his dear friend, Susanne Pomakis, who died in 2010. Susanne’s husband, Jim, and their two children were served by TCR’s peer support groups after Susanne’s death, and running this year’s marathon is Shane’s way of showing his appreciation for the support his friends received.

Shane says, “My training and the journey from Hopkinton to Boston will have added meaning knowing each mile provides The Children’s Room with financial support to continue their compassionate work.”

John Shea 2016John Shea

John, a resident of Needham, is no stranger to the challenges of running a marathon. Incredibly, this will be John’s 14th marathon overall! He has run the Boston Marathon 7 times, and this is his second year in a row running the Boston Marathon as a member of our team.

John’s relationship with TCR began in 2013, when he and his two daughters began attending TCR’s peer support groups after the death of his wife, Diane. “The Children’s Room has helped us to support each other as a family, to find ways for us to honor Diane and keep her memory alive,” John said. “The Children’s Room has also given the girls and me the opportunity to connect with and make friends with other families like our own.”

Antonio Willis-Berry Headshot_CROPAntonio Willis-Berry

Antonio is a resident of Waltham who is a staff member at Bentley University. This is Antonio’s first marathon, and we’re excited to support his efforts all the way to the finish line.

“Running the Boston Marathon began as a joke in April 2016,” Antonio says, “but it has unexpectedly become a reality and something I am excited about.”

Antonio runs in memory of his aunt, and because his work with college students at Bentley University reminds him how important grief support services are for young people. “I’m running on behalf of all those younger versions of myself who were unable to understand how someone so precious could be taken from the world,” said Antonio. “I’m running for those who are or were unable to find support services similar to those services offered by The Children’s Room to assist with the grieving process.”

About our team

Thanks to the generosity of the John Hancock Non-Profit Marathon Program, this is the eighth year that TCR has received bib numbers for the Boston Marathon. Over the past seven years, our marathon teams have raised over $525,000 to support The Children’s Room. Runners receive ongoing support from The Children’s Room in reaching their fundraising goals, and during their training, the team will be coached by Crissy Straub and Malinda Dublin of MC Coaching.

To support our Boston Marathon team, please visit our page on Crowdrise.