NEW YORK, June 19, 2013—The 2013 Boston Marathon winner, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, is giving his championship medal to the City of Boston this weekend. John Hancock Financial and the Boston Athletic Association announced yesterday that the professional runner is gifting the medal in a tribute ceremony after the B.A.A. 10K on June 23 at 10 a.m. on the Boston Common. Desisa is making the donation to honor the victims and families affected by the twin bombings that devastated the race and the nation on April 15.
“As a gesture of my solidarity with the victims of this senseless act of violence, I will return to Boston and gift my medal to the people of Boston in honor and in memory of those who suffered and those who died on that day,” Desisa said last month in a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Ethiopia.
“My message to all of you is that sport should always be a source of pleasure and enjoyment, healthy recreation, and positive competition,” Desisa said. “Sport holds the power to unite people and to connect people from all over the world with one another, allowing them the opportunity to share in their common humanity and to celebrate the richness of our world’s cultural diversity.”
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino will be on hand to accept the medal from Desisa on behalf of the city.
“When the world turned its eyes to Boston in the days and weeks following the marathon, the resiliency of our city, the courage of our first responders, and the strength of the many survivors were on full display,” Mayor Menino said in a press statement. “Since then, countless acts of kindness and generosity have lifted our spirits and inspired us. On behalf of the City of Boston, we thank Lelisa for his thoughtful and moving gesture.”
The ceremony is set to take place after Desisa competes in the B.A.A. 10K at 8 a.m.
“Lelisa’s return to Boston and his participation in the B.A.A. 10K will mark yet another admirable gesture that we have been witness to in the weeks following this year’s Boston Marathon,” said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director. “Lelisa’s participation is itself a tribute to all those affected by the events of April 15 and the aftermath, and we look forward to welcoming and thanking him for his compassion.”
The B.A.A. 10K is part of the second annual B.A.A. Distance Medley, a series of three races including the B.A.A. 5K on April 14, the B.A.A. 10K on June 23, and the B.A.A. Half Marathon on October 13. Each of the three races has its own prize purse, but the male and female with the fastest cumulative times for all three races takes home $100,000.
Joining Desisa in the men’s race is B.A.A. Distance Medley defending champion Allan Kiprono of Kenya and three-time Olympian Alistair Cragg of Ireland among other top runners from Kenya and Ethiopia.
American Aaron Braun is currently in first place on the men’s B.A.A. Distance Medley Leader Board after the 5K in April. Joining him in the B.A.A. 10K is American marathon star Jason Hartmann, who finished fourth as the top American in the 2012 and 2013 Boston Marathon.
Leading the women’s field is New Zealander Kim Smith, who lives and trains in Providence, R.I. She’s the 2012 B.A.A. Distance Medley champion and sits in first place on the women’s 2013 B.A.A. Distance Medley Leader Board after winning the 5K on April 14. She also set the course record of 31:36 in last year’s B.A.A. 10K.
Challenging Smith is 2011 champion and 2013 runner-up of the B.A.A. 5K Lineth Chepkurui of Kenya; Houston Half Marathon and New York Mini 10K champion Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia; and 2012 B.A.A. Distance Medley runner-up Aheza Kiros of Ethiopia.
The B.A.A. 10K takes place Sunday, June 23 at 8:00 a.m. near the Boston Public Garden. Starting on Charles Street, the 6.2-mile course takes runners through Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood along Commonwealth Avenue, Bay State Road, and Babcock Street near Boston University.
The awards ceremony and medal dedication will take place after the race at 10 a.m. on the Boston Common.
Karla Bruning is host of On The Run, New York Road Runners’ show about running. She has finished six marathons, two triathlons and trains with the New York Harriers. Follow Karla at RunKarlaRun.com, The Washington Times Communities, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.
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