TIME relationships

Boston Marathon Runner Hears From Wife of Stranger She Kissed

Boston Marathon Mystery Kiss
Paige Tatge—AP Barbara Tatge, left, kisses an unknown spectator in Wellesley, Mass., as she ran in the Boston Marathon on April 20, 2015.

In the future, she plans to kiss only single men

(BOSTON)—A Tennessee woman searching for the stranger she kissed while running the Boston Marathon this year says she finally heard back—from the mystery man’s wife.

Barbara Tatge says her daughter had dared her to kiss a random, good-looking man as she ran through the town of Wellesley, where the women of Wellesley College traditionally offer kisses to runners.

After the April 20 race, her daughter took to social media to try to find the man, who clearly left an impression on her mom.

Tatge says The Wellesley Townsman, a Boston-area news outlet, passed on a letter addressed to her Sunday after the campaign generated nationwide attention.

The unidentified man’s wife said the attention was fun but that the couple wanted to remain anonymous.

“When this story aired on the news we were pretty surprised,” the mystery man’s wife wrote in a portion of the letter quoted by The Townsman. “For me, I’m not mad. Believe me, our friends have gotten a lot of mileage out of this story and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them give my husband grief!”

The wife continued: “While this may not be the ending that you had hoped for, that spontaneous, silly moment in Wellesley captured the fun, energy and spirit of the Boston Marathon. I greatly admire your spunk and courage and wish you many happy races in the future. Congratulations on your Boston finish!”

Tatge says she wrote back to the wife Monday, thanking her for her graciousness and good humor.

“The letter was so kind and good-hearted,” she said. “She’s a great sport, and he’s fortunate to be married to someone like her.”

Tatge also apologized for any embarrassment the search may have caused.

“I just wanted her to know that the media firestorm stemmed from my loving daughter’s good-hearted dare,” she said. “I didn’t want to cause any discomfort to him or his family.”

Tatge said she’s been touched by the support she’s received but is happy to move on.

She also hopes to run the Boston Marathon again but with one important caveat: “Moving forward, I’m going to revert to only kissing single men.”

TIME Crime

Boston Marathon Bomber Cries as Aunt Takes Stand

In this courtroom sketch, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, center, is depicted between defense attorneys Miriam Conrad, left, and Judy Clarke, right, during his federal death penalty trial in Boston on March 5, 2015.
Jane Flavell Collins–AP In this courtroom sketch, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, center, is depicted between defense attorneys Miriam Conrad, left, and Judy Clarke, right, during his federal death penalty trial in Boston on March 5, 2015.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's 5 family members will be testifying before federal court

(BOSTON) — For the first time, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev dropped his blank, impassive demeanor and cried as his sobbing aunt briefly took the stand Monday in his federal death penalty trial before she was asked to step down to compose herself.

Tsarnaev, 21, wiped tears from his eyes quickly and fidgeted in his chair as his mother’s sister sobbed uncontrollably. He had maintained a disinterested expression since his trial began in January.

The aunt, Patimat Suleimanova, cried as she sat down about 10 feet from Tsarnaev. The tears began falling before she began to testify, and she was only able to answer questions about her name, her year of birth and where she was born.

After a few minutes, Judge George O’Toole Jr. suggested that the defense call a different witness so she could compose herself. As she left the stand, Tsarnaev used a tissue to wipe his eyes and nose.

Later in the day, he blew a kiss to his relatives as U.S. Marshals led him out of the courtroom as the court broke for lunch. Five of Tsarnaev’s family members from Russia are expected to take the witness stand in the penalty phase of his federal trial.

Tsarnaev was convicted last month of 30 federal charges in the bombings, including 17 that carry the possibility of the death penalty. He moved to the U.S. with his family in 2002 and committed the bombings when he was 19.

Prosecutors say Tsarnaev was an equal partner in the bombings with his radicalized older brother, Tamerlan, and have urged the jury to sentence him to death.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers say Tamerlan, 26, was the mastermind of the attack and lured his brother into his plan. Tamerlan died days after the bombings following a shootout with police.

A cousin testified Monday that Dzhokhar was a kind and warm child, so gentle that he once cried while watching “The Lion King.”

“I think that his kindness made everybody around him kind,” Raisat Suleimanova said through a Russian translator.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb pounced, asking her if she believes a deadly attack on innocent civilians can be considered kind. Tsarnaev’s lawyer objected, and Suleimanova was not allowed to answer the question.

In all, five of Tsarnaev’s family members are expected to take the witness stand in federal court.

Prosecutors urged the judge last week to press Tsarnaev’s lawyers to make sure his relatives testify soon because 16 FBI agents have been assigned to guard and protect them while they are in the United States. The family members arrived in Boston on April 23.

“It’s an enormous expense and distraction for the agency, and that’s just part of the expense that the government has endured,” Weinreb said during a sidebar discussion in court with Tsarnaev’s lawyers and the judge, according to a transcript that was made public.

Read next: Why Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Cried in Court

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Running

Venezuelan Runner With Muscular Dystrophy Finishes Boston Marathon

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans (L) and Mayor Marty Walsh (C) listen as Maickel Melamed, of Venezuela, speaks during a Boston Marathon ceremony in Boston on April 21, 2015.
Bill Sikes—AP Boston Police Commissioner William Evans (L) and Mayor Marty Walsh (C) listen as Maickel Melamed, of Venezuela, speaks during a Boston Marathon ceremony in Boston on April 21, 2015.

It took him just under 20 hours to complete the race

Maickel Melamed, a Venezuelan college professor with muscular dystrophy, completed the 119th Boston Marathon early Tuesday morning in just under 20 hours.

Melamed, 39, has completed marathons in Berlin, Chicago, New York and Tokyo, and he finished the 26.2-mile run down Boylston Street with a flock of supporters cheering him on and physically supporting him when he grew tired. They also counted in Spanish for every step he took.

Melamed told reporters after finishing the race that Monday’s marathon would be his last. He’s physically unable to run another after the toll on his body and weight loss.

“It was tough, the wind, the rain, the distance, the cold, everything today was overcome,” Melamed said, reports CBS Boston.

“For me I’m so grateful for Boston and to Boston this is an amazing city.”

Melamed’s family took him to Boston when he was young for life-saving treatment at Boston Children’s Hospital, according to CBS Boston. He ran the marathon with supporters from the group VAMOS Boston to spread a message of peace, and will be presented with a finisher’s medal by Boston mayor Marty Walsh on Tuesday.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Sports

See Boston Marathoners Celebratory Photos

From selfies to colorful costumes, here are the best photographs Boston marathoners and spectators shared on social media today

TIME Sports

See Triumphant Photos of Boston Marathon Runners Through History

The annual event, which takes place on April 20 this year, has been running for more than a century

The 119th Boston Marathon, taking place on April 20, 2015, is sure to be an occasion for remembrance of the tragic crimes that were committed at the race two years ago. As the city continues to recover from that wound, it’s also worth remembering that the marathon has long been a symbol of perseverance, in which runners can conquer obstacles both personal and societal. Here’s a look back at some of those victories.

Read about the history of the Boston Marathon, here in the TIME Vault: A Long Running Show

TIME Boston Marathon

The Running Club Where Boston Bombing Survivors Take Strides Together

The members of " 415 Strong" are running the Boston marathon on Monday, two years after the terrorist attack that changed all of their lives

The members of the 415 Strong running group have little in common in their day-to-day lives. There’s a man who owns a small business, a teacher who does volunteer work in her spare time, a woman who works in real estate. Some of them have kids and others aren’t thinking about starting a family. Some enjoy running, while others never could have pictured themselves running for four hours without stopping.

What ties the group together is that fraction of a mile on Boylston Street in Boston where they all happened to be standing on April 15, 2013 when a pair of brothers executed the most devastating terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11. In the wake of a tragedy, the group formed through word of mouth and began meeting regularly in Boston to trade recovery stories and advice.

“We were strangers, but we all went through the same thing,” said Sabrina Dello Russo, 39, a real estate project manager who suffered a shrapnel injury and now has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “People who didn’t experience what I did don’t understand, but I can easily talk to the 415 team.”

On Monday, 25 members of 415 Strong will return to the Boston Marathon finish line. But this time, they won’t be spectators—they will be running, together, past the scene of the attack that changed all of their lives. The journey of training physically and mentally for this marathon has been a way to bond, and also a way to heal.

“We’re all in it for a common goal. To heal, to build resiliency, to reach new levels,” said Elizabeth Bermingham, 31, an elementary school teacher who suffered shrapnel wounds and a burst eardrum. “It gives empowerment for healing.”

For most of the members of 415 Strong, running was not a passion before the marathon. Given the location and timing of the bombs, most of the people injured were spectators, many of whom had no running experience. But when the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) offered in the fall of 2013 to give free entry to the marathon to anyone who had been hurt, many jumped at the opportunity.

Dave Fortier, one of the few runners injured in the bombing, helped turn the support group into the 415 Strong running group. He planned training sessions and enlisted the help of professional marathoner Jack Fultz to help novices prepare. Some survivors were able to run in 2014, but many decided to spend more time training and will be running for the first time Monday. Participating in the race provides an opportunity for victims “to take back the marathon,” Fortier said.

415 Strong, named for the month and day of the bombing, has remained a support group as well. Dello Russo, who was on the sidelines waiting for a friend to pass when the bombs went off, said she has a “love-hate relationship” with running, but encouragement from the group gets her through each run. When the group isn’t running, Dello Russo appreciates the company of people who experienced the same tragedy in the same way.

“I can’t be in a stressful environment where people are loud and everyone is yelling. I tend to remove myself. People who didn’t experience what I did don’t understand that,” she said.

The group also provides an outlet for discussion, where Dello Russo can talk openly about her fear of crowds. She says she couldn’t have returned to the race as a spectator, but running the marathon with the support of her friends has allowed her to work through her PTSD. Fortier, who runs a small telecommunications company, found his doctor through the group. In recent months, the group has been a place to discuss the trial of now-convicted marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

“The emotions surrounding it took me by surprise. I’m really not sure I totally figured it out yet,” Bermingham said of Tsarnaev’s guilty verdict. “That day my phone just didn’t stop buzzing with the marathon family just checking in.”

While the trial and the second anniversary of the bombing have brought the events back into the limelight, members of the group say they’ll remain friends long after the media attention fades and the bombing becomes history. Much of what they talk about these days is their families and their many interests outside running.

For Fortier, 415 Strong plays a bigger role than simply providing a place to talk about experiences. “We all came together out of something very tragic. There is evil in this world and there’s a lot of it, and we experienced some of it on Boylston that day,” he said. “But there’s so much more good than bad.”

TIME Crime

Boston Bombing Victim Posts Courageous Open Letter to Tsarnaev

Boston Marathon Bombing Trial
Boston Globe—Getty Images Boston Marathon victim Rebekah Gregory, right, heads into the Moakley Courthouse for the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for the Boston Marathon bombings.

"I looked at you right in the face ... and realized I wasn't afraid anymore"

A woman who lost her leg after injuries sustained in the Boston Marathon bombing posted an open letter to admitted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Facebook, saying she’s no longer afraid of the man who gave her nightmares.

“This afternoon,” Rebekah Gregory DiMartino wrote on Wednesday, “I got to walk into a courtroom and take my place at the witness stand, just a few feet away from where you were sitting … I looked at you right in the face … and realized I wasn’t afraid anymore.”

Although DiMartino said she found sitting in court upsetting, wrote she realized it was “the crazy kind of step forward that I needed all along.”

But she didn’t mince words when it came to the 27-year-old accused of 30 charges relating to the Marathon bombing and the ensuing chase and firefight:

…You are a coward. A little boy who wouldn’t even look me in the eyes to see that. Because you can’t handle the fact that what you tried to destroy, you only made stronger.

Gregory posted another open letter in November saying goodbye to her leg before amputation. Doctors had tried 15 surgeries to restore it to health.

Tsarnaev’s lawyer said, in so many words, “It was him” during her opening statement Wednesday. But she entered a plea of “not guilty,” arguing that he had been manipulated by his older brother, Tamerlan.

TIME Courts

Boston Bombing Survivors Tell Court Their Personal Accounts of the Carnage

A courtroom sketch shows Boston Marathon bombing survivor Sydney Corcoran testifying in the trial of accused bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at the federal courthouse in Boston, Mass., March 4, 2015.
Jane Flavell Collins—Reuters A courtroom sketch shows Boston Marathon bombing survivor Sydney Corcoran testifying in the trial of accused bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at the federal courthouse in Boston, Mass., March 4, 2015.

“I remember thinking, this is it, I’m going to die. I’m not going to make it"

Survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, allegedly carried out by Chechen-American brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, appeared in a Boston federal court Wednesday to deliver chilling testimony detailing the chaotic scene at the finish line.

When the two bombs detonated on April 15, 2013, shrapnel cut an artery in Sydney Corcoran’s leg, leaving blood gushing, while her mother’s legs were sliced off. On the first day of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial she described the moment to the courtroom: “I remember thinking, this is it, I’m going to die. I’m not going to make it.”

Read the rest of the survivor testimonies at the Boston Globe

 

TIME

Boston Police Aid Search for Mystery Marathon Shovelers

Two men appear to have kept the finish line clear during blizzard

Boston police were trying to solve a mystery Wednesday: who shoveled of the finish line of the Boston Marathon route?

The quest has inspired its own hashtag — #WhoShoveledTheFinishLine — as locals try and figure out the mystery shoveler’s identity. Philip Hillman may be the responsible for the hunt. He photographed a man shoveling snow off the end of the Boston Marathon route.

Two Instagram photos of what appear to be two different men shoveling snow suggest that the deed was not a one-man job, however.

“I was in the right place at the right time,” Hillman told TODAY. “He maintained it for a little while, but it was in the middle of the blizzard. I had no idea it would affect people the way it has, and I’m happy it has touched as many people as it did.”

The city decided to maintain the paint that marks the finish line in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood following the 2013 attack on the city. This week’s blizzard covered Boston with more than two feet of snow.

Giving respect to the #BostonMarathon finish line. #blizzardof2015 #boylston #boston #cnnsnow

A photo posted by monkmpls (@monkmpls) on

 

TIME Crime

See the Final Moments Before Boston Bombing Suspect Was Arrested

Cops cornered suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose trial began this week, on April 19, 2013

Sgt. Sean Murphy visited TIME in December 2013 to discuss the photographs he made during the dramatic capture of suspected Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on April 19, 2013, in one of the first interviews since he retired from the force. As the bombing suspect’s trial on 30 criminal counts begins in Boston this week, relive the final moments of the manhunt that led to his arrest. The full interview can be read on TIME LightBox.

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