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Brown grad, named to Forbes 30 Under 30, dies after completing marathon

Pierre Lipton, who lived in Providence, co-founded 1440 Media, which provides a daily email newsletter of unbiased news to 2.3 million people

Pierre Lipton, right, smiles after completing a Rhode Island road race with his girlfriend, Eleanor Pereboom.Courtesy of Eleanor Pereboom

PROVIDENCE — Pierre Lipton loved numbers.

Numbers told the story of the company he co-founded, 1440 Media, which provides a free e-mail newsletter with a compilation of unbiased news to more than 2.3 million people each day. It is named for the year that the printing press was invented — and the number of minutes in a day.

Numbers charted his early success: After graduating from Brown University in 2020 with a 4.0 grade point average, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for media in 2022.

Numbers chronicled the speed he achieved in road racing: On Oct. 1, he finished first in the Jamestown Half Marathon in 1 hour, 27 minutes, and 11 seconds.


Numbers also captured the triumph and tragedy of his final day: On Feb. 4, he finished the Mesa (Arizona) Marathon in 3 hours, 10 minutes, and 5 seconds — maintaining a pace of 7 minutes and 15 seconds per mile for 26.2 miles — before collapsing and dying.

He was 26 years old.

When the pandemic hit, Pierre Lipton and girlfriend Eleanor Pereboom began fostering dogs. But they found it too hard to say goodbye, so they adopted a mutt and named her Appa, after the flying bison/manatee in “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”Kye Ehrlich

Those who loved him say Lipton — who was born in Charlotte, N.C., and lived in Providence — made each moment count.

“He lived life to the fullest in every way,” said his mother, professor Siu Challons-Lipton.

“He never did anything less than 100 percent,” said his girlfriend, Eleanor Pereboom.

He had countless plans and dreams.

He wanted to run all the major marathons. He longed to play for the national soccer team in Tonga, the South Pacific nation where his mother was born.

He spoke English, Spanish, Arabic, and was learning Italian in anticipation of a trip in May. He liked to build things — whether with Legos or new business ventures — and he wanted to make a difference in the world.

“We are pretty sure he was going to win a Nobel Prize,” said his father, Dr. Jordan Lipton. “Pierre believed in truth, always. He lived his life that way — honest, truthful, and kind.”


His commitment to truth was evident in 1440 Media, the Chicago-based company he cofounded in 2018 after meeting Tim Huelskamp, a venture capitalist, and Andrew Steigerwald, a scientist working on Capitol Hill.

His father said Lipton always felt that there was too much polarization in the news and that people couldn’t agree on anything because they weren’t basing their opinions on a common set of facts.

“He thought they could provide more objective news that states the facts and allows people, who live next door to each other and might have nothing in common, to come together,” he said. “He wanted to get rid of fake news.”

His kindness was evident in other endeavors.

In high school, he volunteered at an orphanage in Panama, teaching English and math. In college, he started VitaLives, a company aimed at reducing malnutrition and vitamin deficiency. Even in death, he was an organ donor.

“Any time I needed advice, he would be first to call and talk everything over,” said his sister, Adelina Lipton. “He was so level-headed and kind. When my dog went to the hospital, he knew how much I love my dog. He talked to me for hours.”

Pereboom recalled meeting Lipton while she was in a dual degree program at Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design. He asked her to go to Trader Joe’s in Warwick and then sit by the water, eating snacks.


“It was the weirdest first date, but also perfect,” she recalled. “It was dark by the time we left. We kept talking, and he kept thinking of more incredible things to do together. He didn’t want to just be on campus like everybody else.”

Lipton loved to travel, having visited England, Sweden, China, Thailand, and Iceland with his family. And soon, he and Pereboom were traveling together.

“We knew right away,” she said. His obituary said, “Pierre is deeply in love with Eleanor, the love of his life.”

After an eye injury kept him from playing soccer, Lipton and Pereboom began running together, and their running quickly became a “lifestyle,” Pereboom said. “He has always loved movement and exercise. He needed to be doing something.”

They decided to sign up for the Providence Half Marathon in May 2022. “We thought: That sounds hard, but we will do it together,” she said. “We trained and caught the bug.”

They became part of Providence’s running community, meeting at Narragansett Beer’s Providence brewery on Wednesday nights, joining the ‘Gansett Run Club on runs to the Providence River pedestrian bridge and down the East Bay Bike Path. They also took part in Tuesday night track workouts at Hope High School.

While some runners grind and grimace, Lipton ran with evident joy. “His policy was — every mile — to shake out his arms, relax his shoulders, check his form, and make sure he had a smile on his face,” Pereboom said.


While some runners fuel up on IPAs, Lipton stayed away from alcohol and caffeine while training. “He was healthy,” his father said. “He took such good care of himself.”

So Lipton and Pereboom were prepared when they flew out to Arizona to run the Mesa Marathon on Feb. 4. Temperatures ranged between 46 and 69 degrees that day — pretty good conditions for running.

At the starting line, he kissed her goodbye. At the finish line, an official photo shows him looking relaxed, gliding with both feet off the ground, sunglasses reflecting the Arizona sun.

Pereboom finished less than 15 minutes later — in a time of 3 hours, 23 minutes, and 56 seconds. She chugged a bottle of water but didn’t see Lipton. After finding her phone, she texted him but received no reply.

Pereboom called him, but he didn’t pick up. She figured he was recovering somewhere and not looking at his phone. Then she used a phone tracker app to see where his phone was. “I’m that annoying girlfriend,” she joked.

The app showed that Lipton was at a hospital. “That’s when I started to get worried,” she said.

Pereboom found race officials beneath a tent and soon learned what had happened. “He basically fell right into the arms of paramedics,” she said. “They tried to do CPR. They tried everything. We still don’t know what happened.”

His father, an emergency medicine specialist, said, “The working diagnosis is he might have had some sudden electrolyte imbalance that caused arrhythmia.”


Last week, Steven Blais, co-leader of the ‘Gansett Run Club, choked up as he paid tribute to Lipton.

“Pierre brought so much joy into not only the running community but into the lives of everyone he encountered,” he said. “He loved to run. He always ran with a smile on his face, and that happiness carried over into who he was as a person. Pierre left an indelible mark on the Rhode Island running community, and we will do all we can to honor his memory.”

The 'Gansett Run Club lit a candle and had a moment of silence in memory of Pierre Lipton.Courtesy of Steven Blais

Blais posted a photo of the run group as it observed a moment of silence while gathered around a candle and a pair of Tracksmith running shoes like the ones Lipton wore. “Our hearts are heavy,” the caption said, “but Pierre’s light will shine forever.”

Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv.