Looking for Inspiration? What one runner did for another in Boston
Laura Wellington, a 25-year-old Cambridge claims adjuster, was one of the runners who didn’t get to finish the marathon. She was stopped a half-mile from the finish line and, when she learned what happened, panicked, knowing that her family was waiting for her in Copley Square. As she walked down Mass. Ave, Laura made frantic calls and was finally able to reach a friend, who was with her family and assured her they were OK. Here, in Wellington’s own words, is what happened next:
“I was just so happy … that I sat down and started crying. Just couldn’t hold it back. At that moment, a couple walking by stopped. The woman took the space tent off her husband, who had finished the marathon, and wrapped it around me. She asked me if I was OK, if I knew where my family was. I reassured her I knew where they were and I would be OK. The man then asked me if I finished, to which I nodded ‘no.’ He then proceeded to take the medal off from around his neck and placed it around mine. He told me, ‘You are a finisher in my eyes.’ I was barely able to choke out a ‘thank you’ between my tears.”
They separated, but after the initial shock passed, Wellington thought about the couple and how much that gesture meant to her. She posted her story on Facebook in the hopes that she might find them and tell them.
“This couple reassured me that even though such a terrible thing had happened, everything was going to be OK,” she said.
By yesterday afternoon, her story had nearly 250,000 “likes” and had been shared more than 150,000 times. At around 1 p.m. yesterday, Kailee Cunningham posted to Wellington’s page saying, “That’s my mom and dad!”
Wellington was able to contact Brent and Karin Cunningham, who live in Alaska, and say a proper thank you.
In an interview with a local radio station, Brent said he gave Wellington his medal because “I just had to.”
It’s not about whether or not you cross the finish line, it’s about why you race and who will be there waiting for you.
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“I got my medal and she didn’t,” he said. “It was like, I cannot not give it to you, you deserve it. And she just started bawling.”