TIME Cancer

This Man Had a Great Reason for Running a Marathon While Dressed as a Pair of Testicles

He may seem nuts, but Jack Woodward was actually running to fight cancer

Spectators at the London Marathon this past Sunday may have been surprised to see a pair of giant testicles bobbing up and down among a sea of runners. But Jack Woodward’s reason for dressing as male genitalia is as serious as the costume was absurd. Woodward, 22, decided to don the costume to raise money and awareness for testicular cancer, to which he recently lost his 21-year-old friend Rob Harris.

Woodward ran not just as any pair of nuts, but as Mr. Testicles, the mascot of the Male Cancer Awareness Campaign. The friendly mascot exists for the purpose of “reducing embarrassment and raising awareness of testicular cancer,” which has a good prognosis if detected and treated in the early stages.

Woodward told BBC’s Newsbeat, “I think too many people are too self conscious to go and get checked or they find something and then they just brush it off. But instead if you find something irregular with your body or different you should just go get it checked, it’s better to be safe than sorry. “

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

How One Woman Won a Marathon and Barely Broke a Sweat

Rosie Ruiz Finishes Boston Marathon
David Madison—Getty Images Rosie Ruiz at the finish line of the 1980 Boston Marathon

April 21, 1980: Rosie Ruiz finishes first among women runners in the Boston Marathon, but officials later revoke her medal

To observers at the finish line, Rosie Ruiz must have seemed like the fittest athlete ever to run the Boston Marathon. On this day, April 21, in 1980, the 26-year-old New Yorker finished first among the marathon’s women runners in near-record time — just over two and a half hours. Even more impressive: When officials crowned her the winner, she was barely sweating, according to Mass Moments, the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities’ online history almanac. Her hair was still perfectly styled, and her face was hardly flushed after the 26-mile race.

Ruiz made winning a marathon look easy. And it was, using her signature strategy: Don’t run the whole thing.

Officials were dubious, however, partly because of her unsweaty nonchalance and partly because no one — neither competitors nor spectators — could remember having seen her during the first 25 miles. When witnesses came forward a few days later to say they’d seen her run onto the course from the sidelines just a mile from the finish line, her medal was revoked.

Ruiz’s own admissions might have given her away in any case: She acknowledged that she’d only started training 18 months earlier, by running around Central Park. And she’d only ever competed in one other marathon: the New York Marathon, where she’d had a notably slower (although still impressive) time.

Legendary runner Kathrine Switzer — the first woman ever to officially compete in the Boston Marathon — was instantly suspicious when she spoke to Ruiz after the race, which she was covering that day as a television commentator. Switzer asked what Ruiz’s intervals had been, per TIME; Ruiz replied, “What’s an interval?”

More deception was revealed when New York Marathon officials looked into Ruiz’s 24th-place finish in that race and discovered that she had used a similar strategy to qualify for the Boston Marathon — by taking the subway instead of running most of the course. According to the New York Daily News, Ruiz explained the fact that she was wearing a marathon number by telling fellow subway riders that she had twisted her ankle and just wanted to see the end of the race.

She may not have had much training as a distance runner, but she seemed to have a great deal of practice in bending the truth. Even her application for the New York Marathon was based on a lie: An Associated Press story reveals that she submitted the form after the deadline had passed, but then got “special dispensation” by claiming she had a fatal brain tumor.

And while Ruiz never faced criminal consequences for faking her race finishes, she later ran afoul of the law for unrelated reasons. In 1982, she was charged with stealing $60,000 from the realty company she worked for, and in 1983 she was arrested for selling two kilos of cocaine to an undercover detective, per the AP.

Meanwhile, Boston Marathon organizers have made it harder to follow in Ruiz’s fraudulent footsteps. An unscrupulous couple who finished first in the senior category of the 1997 marathon were quickly found out, despite having registered at the course’s computer checkpoints, because they failed to appear on video shot at secret locations.

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

Read next: Survivor: Last Year’s Marathon Was for Boston. This Year’s Is for Me.

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

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 Terrorism

Cops Shot Too Soon in Boston Bombing Manhunt, Report Finds

"Weapons discipline was lacking" during manhunt and standoff, report says

A long-awaited government report on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings praised law enforcement for their quick and effective response to the fatal attack, but noted that officers who cornered alleged bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a boat several days later may have fired on him too soon.

The report is mostly a play-by-play of the bombing and subsequent manhunt from April 15 to 19, 2013. Much of the report details the effective coordination of law enforcement, medical personnel, marathon officials and hospital staff. For example, all the patients who went to the hospital survived their injuries, and medical tents at the finish line of the marathon were instrumental in providing on-site medical care.

But the report also details some areas for improvement, including in how careful police are when firing their guns. The report noted that “weapons discipline was lacking,” both during the firefight with the Tsarnaev brothers and during the standoff with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the boat on April 19. In that standoff, police opened fire on the boat after hearing a gunshot that they believed came from Tsarnaev, but actually came from a fellow police officer, who had fired inappropriately, the report found.

There was also an incident when officers fired on a suspicious-looking unmarked black truck that was actually driven by plainclothes officers, who were both unhurt. The report warned that “each of these incidents created a dangerous crossfire situation.”

While many different teams worked quickly and efficiently to keep Boston safe, the report also noted that there was room for improvement in coordination between city agencies, which “created confusion at times.” The report recommended that each city agency have a designated emergency representative to coordinate with other agencies, and that the city develop a more unified emergency response policy for the future.

Another area for improvement was in hospital evidence collection. The report said that hospital personnel were “intimidated” by the heavily armed police officers questioning victims and witnesses, and that there was not a streamlined procedure for gathering evidence from survivors at the hospital.

Also, the interlocking rack barriers that kept spectators from interfering with the marathon proved to be major obstacles for first responders. The report recommends the city look into alternative crowd control techniques that could be more easily disassembled in an emergency situation.

TIME Sports

This Elite Marathon Runner Was Determined to Finish Race No Matter What

In a show of determination, Hyvon Ngetich crawled over finish line to take third place

Hyvon Ngetich turned metaphor into reality when she literally crawled across the finish line at the Austin Marathon on Sunday.

The Kenyan runner was in the lead among the elite women after 23 miles, according to local CBS affiliate KEYE-TV, when she collapsed between there and the finish line. Still, Ngetich persevered, crawling on her hands and knees to cross the finish line. She still finished in third place in spite of her setback.

The race director, John Conley, was apparently so impressed with this triumph of will that he decided to increase her prize money to what she would have won if she came in second place. “You ran the bravest race and crawled the bravest crawl I have ever seen in my life,” he said. “You have earned much honor.”

[KEYE-TV]

TIME U.S.

Man Proposes to His Girlfriend at the Boston Marathon Finish Line

"After last year I realized the people you love and your life can be taken so quickly"

Shortly after completing the Boston Marathon today, runner Greg Picklesimer decided to make the day even more memorable by proposing to his girlfriend at the finish line.

He also completed the marathon last year, just a few hours before the terrorist attack that killed three people and injured dozens more.

“After last year I realized the people you love and your life can be taken so quickly,” Picklesimer told CBS Boston. “I didn’t want to lose that so I decided to come back and seal the deal.”

She said yes, luckily, because wouldn’t that be so awkward if she didn’t?

 

TIME cities

Boston Marathon Winds Down Without a Hitch a Year After Bombings

2014 B.A.A. Boston Marathon
Jim Rogash—Getty Images Rita Jeptoo of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Boston, Ma.

Marathon went smoothly Monday night without incident, amid increased security measures following last year's bombing near the finish line that killed three people and wounded 264 others

Updated 3:00 a.m. ET

The Boston Marathon began winding down Monday night without incident amid heightened security measures after bombings near the finish line of last year’s marathon killed three people and wounded 264 others.

Almost 36,000 people ran in the marathon, the Associated Press reports, in what officials called a powerful display of resilience after last year’s tragedy. In one particularly uplifting scene, an unidentified participant in the day’s race appeared to collapse near the 26th mile marker only to be carried across the finish line by fellow runners.

Marathon officials went to great lengths to prevent another incident, forbidding backpacks and rucksacks, containers with more than one liter of liquid, and costumes that cover the face, CNN reports. Large signs are also banned, and unregistered runners and cyclists were no longer allowed to join the race. Surveillance cameras dotted the course and police officers were perched on rooftops.

Meb Keflezighi won the men’s race in 2:08:37, becoming the first American to win this marathon since 1983, the Boston Globe reports. Defending champion Rita Jeptoo of Kenya won the women’s race in 2:18:55, beating her winning record from last year by over seven minutes. She’s the seventh the-time winner in history, the AP reports.

Authorities accused brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev of the 2013 bombings. Tamerlan was killed days later after a shootout with police ended with Dzhokhar running over his brother with his car. Dzhokhar is awaiting trial.

On the one-year anniversary of the marathon attack last Tuesday, police arrested a performance artist who wore a veil and screamed as he carried two rice cookers in backpacks to the site of the original explosion last year. Kevin Edson, who has a history of hospitalization and mental health issues, was arrested and held on $100,000 bail before he was sent to a mental hospital.

TIME boston strong

Boston Is Ready to Run Again: Stories of Resilience One Year Later

A year after tragedy hit their hometown streets, survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings plan to run again

This week, survivors, first responders and family members of those killed came together to mark the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The events that unfolded starting at 2:49 p.m. on April 15, 2013, nearly three hours after the race’s winners crossed the finish line, altered lives forever.

In this gripping video feature, survivors and runners who were at the finish line remember the frantic moments of that deadly day.

A year after two bombs claimed three lives and injured more than 260 people, their stories of survival are a testament to Boston’s resilient spirit in the aftermath of the bombings. Their resolution to run again on Monday, the day the race takes place this year, comes from the determination to continue to rebuild, drawing strength from the heroics they saw that day.

 

TIME North Korea

North Korea Marathon Opens to Foreign Amateurs

The annual marathon in Pyongyang opened to recreational foreign runners for the first time on April 13, allowing another brief look into the Hermit Kingdom that typically remains off-limits to those born outside the country

Organizers of the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon, recognized as a bronze-label event by the International Association of Athletics Federations and held for the past 27 years, told the Associated Press they opted to allow the new recreational runners in an effort to more boldly celebrate the birthday of their nation’s founder, Kim Il Sung, on April 15. Officials said the race, which typically has featured elite foreigners, included 225 amateurs and runners from 27 countries. The course, a largely flat path of four loops around the center of the city, had to be completed within four hours so roads could be reopened. A half marathon and a 10-kilometer run were also held as thousands of North Koreans lined the streets to cheer the participants.

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