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Celtics assistant will run Boston Marathon

Jamie Young was about to go for a run when it happened.

“That’s when I saw all the breaking news,” the Celtics assistant coach said.

On that April Monday last year, Young stepped off the treadmill at the Celtics’ practice facility in Waltham and hurried to check in with his colleagues.

Young was concerned, because he knew that Doc Rivers, then the Celtics coach, and forward Jeff Green were both living in downtown Boston. He hoped both were OK.

For the next few days, with the city locked down as authorities searched for the suspects who bombed the Boston Marathon, Young, like many others here and around the country, struggled to focus on anything but the tragedy itself.


Eventually, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two bombing suspects, was captured hiding in a boat in Watertown, roughly a mile from where Young lives.

And on the one-year anniversary of the bombing this April, Young plans to again go for a run, only this time in the Boston Marathon. It would be his first marathon of any kind.

For Young, the event carries personal meaning. He’s been on the Celtics’ coaching staff far longer than anyone else, with this season his 13th in Boston. And though he hails from Indiana, today Young says, proudly, “I’m a New Englander.”

Young, who began as a video coordinator with the Celtics before rising through the ranks, loves his job enough that he turned down an offer last summer to join Rivers’s staff as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Young said no in part because he just couldn’t uproot his family — his wife, Jaynene, and young son, Jamieson Thomas. And he couldn’t leave the team.

“At the end of the day, it’s the Boston Celtics,” he said last summer. “It doesn’t get any better than the Celtics, to me at least. Since I’ve been here, I’ve always been, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I work here. It’s great.’ ”


Young was asked to run the marathon on behalf of the Celtics’ charity, the Shamrock Foundation, which approached him about a month ago.

“When they asked, I was like, ‘Yeah, it would be great to do that,’ ” said Young, who visited the finish line last summer when the last business to be damaged by the bombs finally reopened. “It’s an honor. To the people of Boston, I don’t know if me running honors anyone in particular, but it is exciting to do it because of the circumstances.”

Young considers himself a runner now, but he wasn’t always.

“I started running after my dad passed away from a heart attack,” he said.

That was in 2007, on the same day the Celtics traded for Kevin Garnett, and Young’s father was just 56.

Young had been health conscious before, but his father’s death deepened his resolve to take care of his body, so he started running a few miles a day, just as a workout.

Then he ran a few races during the summer. He has run 5Ks and 10Ks, and he said the farthest he has run so far is 13.1 miles, half the length of a marathon.

“Now, I’m doing this,” said Young, who now at 38 is trim but stocky, thick through the chest and arms.

His days begin at about 5 a.m., as he likes to run before work becomes hectic. He’ll aim for a few miles, maybe more, and that figure is increasing as the Marathon nears.


He wears a Nike Fuelband fitness tracker that tells him how many steps he has taken, and he has an app on his phone that tells him the total distance he covered.

On Young’s twitter account (@jamieallenyoung), almost every tweet details his daily runs — like clockwork, a new update pops up early each morning.

Young will run outside if the weather allows or on the treadmill if it doesn’t. And if the Celtics are out of town, he might go to the front desk of the hotel, ask for a map of the city, and then plot out his course for a morning run.

But recently, the Celtics had a string of afternoon games at TD Garden, and Young arrived early to run along the Charles River, then cut through the city, up Newbury Street and then back down Boylston Street to cross the finish line, so he’d know what it felt like.

He didn’t have to look up that route before he ran it. After 13 years with the Celtics — an unusually long tenure for any coach with the same professional sports team — Jamie Young knows the area well. The Indiana native, after all, is a New Englander now.

Baxter Holmes can be reached at baxter.holmes@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @BaxterHolmes.

Correction: Boylston Street was incorrectly referred to as “Boylston Avenue” in a previous version.