An Arlington teacher who ran the Boston Marathon was able to cross the finish line before the attack.
"At the end of the race, the medal means everything," Melinda said.
Until Boston’s lockdown halted all activity, marathon medals were going to the 5,000 or so runners blocked from the finish line. But organizers didn’t want runners picking up their medals Friday, because it was unsafe to be out.
But Melinda won’t be lining up for one of those medals. She already gave hers away to another runner, a stranger sidelined by violence.
“I asked her ‘Did you finish?’ and she didn’t, and I gave her my medal. I feel it was hers, and I put it around her neck the way they put it around me,” Melinda explained.
Melinda doesn’t want the attention that the kind of selfless act can bring.
“It gives me chills. [I’m] so proud of this sport,” she beamed.
But the parents of the kids she teaches want to share this lesson.
“To give away your medal is the ultimate show of sportsmanship,” Jean Knaack, the executive director of the Road Runners Club of America, said.
And while Melinda hasn’t yet told her students what happened, the word is getting out.
“I think it’s fabulous that she cares for me and a stranger, and it says a lot about her,” said 10-year-old Maddie Miller.
The unprecedented effort to make sure every runner has a finisher's medal will continue once police operations subside, although runners will tell you they don’t run for the medal, but for the spirit of the sport.