Letter of Apology From Runner That Took Extra Boston Marathon Medal

This afternoon, I received an email from the runner that I wrote about late last week that took two medals at the finish. With his permission, I am posting...

This afternoon, I received an email from the runner that I wrote about late last week that took two medals at the finish.

With his permission, I am posting his apology:

I am the runner from the Boston Marathon who took a 2nd medal and gave it to his wife. I am embarrassed and ashamed at my actions. I have returned the medal to the BAA with a donation to cover any additional costs my selfish actions caused and a letter of apology.

 

On Monday I had one of the most amazing days running in the Marathon. It was an unbelievable event to be a part of and an incredible day for me and my family. I physically struggled but was emotionally and mentally lifted by the crowd including my wife who recently gave birth to our fourth child.

 

As I finished the Marathon I was overcome with emotion, mostly gratitude for my wife and her support of this marathon and the hours of training in addition to a job that has kept me very busy during the last 6 months. I was grateful for the incredible Boston running community I felt I had just discovered (This is my 2nd Marathon, 1st Boston and 1st Marathon in 4 years).

 

I selfishly accepted a 2nd medal when it was presented to me, as I reunited with my twin sons and had given one of them my first medal. In the moment I had the foolish and selfish thought I could use this medal to honor and thank my wife. I was not thinking and am beyond embarrassed that I did this. I certainly did not think through the unintended consequences of what taking a 2nd medal could have. It is against the spirit of the Marathon, the spirit of what I stand for and most devastatingly the spirit of the incredible stepping strong foundation. I have been blown away by the Reny family and inspired by their courage, and efforts to promote healing and recovery for those who suffer trauma in their lives. The very last thing I want is to take away from them and their efforts. I know there has been speculation that I did not hit my fundraising target, I received the remaining $6.5k from private checks and am told it takes a few weeks for the website to be undated. It was an honor to run and fund-raise for such a wonderful cause. 

I  thought I did enough to keep him mostly anonymous when I first posted his Instagram picture. Still, some found his identity and sent him messages. If I go to lengths to try to keep people anonymous, please do not comment with identifying information. If you have information you feel that you need to share that would reveal a runner’s identity, please share it with me privately.

Unfortunately, I cannot control what people post outside of my website and the Marathon Investigation Facebook page.

What he did was wrong. Maybe he would not have realized how much the running community in general this if it weren’t for the article and social media posts of his photo. But, by contacting and sending potentially inappropriate messages to runners I write about is counter productive to what I am trying to achieve. Please consider the big picture before searching someone out and contacting them.

-Derek

 
Thank you to all of those that have already contributed to the site. Contributions go towards site expenses, and to compensate those that help gather the data. Please consider making a small contribution to support the site.

 


One Time Contribution

 

Categories
2017 Boston Marathon
30 Comments on this post.
  • Grey is STUPID
    24 April 2017 at 3:45 pm

    I can accept people’s apology after they have been called out. But, I still don’t understand their thinking in the first place. You earned ONE medal for finishing the race. Take JUST ONE medal!

  • Karen Coutts
    24 April 2017 at 4:04 pm

    I feel there are holes in this man’s story. This man posted his image on Instagram, proud of what he’d done, and received over 300 likes. If someone was upset enough to write to anyone (as I was), it would no more likely to have been a faithful reader of your blog than one of his hundreds of acquaintances.

    That being said, I will respect your wishes and not contact any subjects of your investigations in the future. Perhaps if there was an indication in your stories that *somebody* has contacted someone about this, there would be no need for any of your readers to follow up. I just wanted to make sure someone knew about this because it *does* reflect badly on his team and his team needs to know about this before allowing him back. I do not buy his claim that he received $6500 in cheques in the last week before the marathon, but that is the charity’s business.

    If you do something this stupid and selfish on social media, it’s going to bite back–on social media. I don’t think the flurry of contacts was counterproductive. We need to stop all cheaters and thieves, and publicity is the way to do it.

    • Anna
      24 April 2017 at 8:23 pm

      I hope you never make a mistake.

      • Karen Coutts
        24 April 2017 at 10:58 pm

        Thou shalt not steal. It’s pretty basic stuff really. I don’t see the moral ambiguity of this, but maybe you do.

  • Kevin
    24 April 2017 at 4:11 pm

    “I selfishly accepted a 2nd medal when it was presented to me?”… just curious, how often do volunteers offer a second medal, when your first medal is clearly visible?

    • DM
      24 April 2017 at 5:38 pm

      He profusely apologized and returned the medal…move on….I commend him for his actions on righting his wrong and dont think his apology and explanation need to be doubted. He appears to be a genuine person unlike many of the outed cheats who deny to the nth degree.

    • Jen Anderson
      24 April 2017 at 5:42 pm

      Kevin – I can absolutely see how this happened! In fact, because I’ve been closely following this site, it crossed my mind as I was patiently waiting for my medal. There was such congestion when I crossed that people were being HANDED medals, rather than having them put around their necks. I had to wait in line to have it placed around my neck, but it seemed appropriate because it was BOSTON!! I even told me friend afterwards that I could have easily gotten another medal. I was shocked! I remember thinking about the “fake Tina” story and wondering if this is how medals end up on eBay. The volunteers were doing their best, but unfortunately, there are still bad apples out there 🙁

    • LD
      24 April 2017 at 6:37 pm

      He said he had given his other medal to one of his twins. I’m assuming the volunteer thought he didn’t receive one yet.

    • J. Alain Ferry
      24 April 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Did you even read his apology? He had given one of his twin sons his first medal. While this could be complete BS and the guy’s integrity has certainly been called into question, it’s plausible. If you’ve run Boston, then you know how easy it is to hand your medal off to someone over the barricade before passing the medal station. Those volunteers are some of the most friendly people on the planet and their lifeblood for those few hours is smiling and offering a medal to any finisher walking towards them without a medal around their neck. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, and respect how he’s handling this.

      • Colin
        24 April 2017 at 7:48 pm

        There are photos of him with family at the end…No second medal on show

        • Karen Coutts
          25 April 2017 at 1:43 pm

          Bingo, Colin. He’s a liar and thief through and through.

    • joeconn4
      25 April 2017 at 11:45 am

      Kevin – Work as part of the medals crew at a finish line for a big race and you’ll see how crazy it can be at times and you’ll know how easy it would be for a mistake like this to happen – especially if they’re not hanging the medals around everyone’s neck.

  • Kate
    24 April 2017 at 4:50 pm

    His story keeps changing.

  • Iam Running
    24 April 2017 at 5:50 pm

    He obviously didn’t understand the mistake made, hence the Instagram picture. Once pointed out, he did the right thing. Kudos for him for the apology, making the return plus the donation. Time to move on…

  • Sandi
    24 April 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Sadly this man made a mistake (we all make them), he was called out and has now apologized. Let it go.

    What is FAR WORSE than what he did is how he has been villanized in many running communities. This week in a particular Facebook Trail running group a post was made on this topic with his picture. What followed was almost ONE THOUSAND POSTS on how terrible he was, insults about his WIFE, and one member went so far as to stalk his social media and repost pictures and posts in the ‘private’ group. I left the group that day. That is not the kind of people I want anything to do with. What they did is 100x worse than the mistake he made.

    • Norm
      24 April 2017 at 7:32 pm

      My guess is that he didn’t realize the ramifications of taking a second medal in a such a major race as Boston. I don’t think it was malicious, unlike some other cheaters Derek has profiled.

    • Brian Glotzbach
      25 April 2017 at 12:12 am

      I disagree. Without sites like this and runners calling this guy out he likely would have gotten away with it.

      Let’s quit minimizing thus guy’s behavior. He stole a medal and he got caught. I’m satisfied that he returned the medal and apologized but let’s not try to equate his actions with those of people who forced him to have to own up to it. If it continues now that he’s apologized then yes, that is wrong as well. But I have no problem with people holding him to account for his actions.

  • Brad
    24 April 2017 at 6:18 pm

    I’m good with the apology and his reasoning. By all appearances, he did not accept an extra medal to sell it on eBay, etc., but to honor his wife and family. Also, he returned it, and added a donation to BAA. He properly handled the situation that was of his own making.

  • John Nicholson
    24 April 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Not sure how many folks have run 26.2……I have run a few. The old brain isn’t real sharp at the end. He has done the correct thing. Actually, the family should receive the metal. Great job getting through it and making the correct decision.

  • Running Momma
    24 April 2017 at 7:56 pm

    I am so pleased to see that he apologized and returned the medal, that is the decent thing to do. I think it takes a lot to make such a public apology … I hope that anyone who shared the original story, also shares this one.

    • Matt
      24 April 2017 at 11:32 pm

      If you think you never make mistakes or do the occasional foolish thing, you are kidding yourself. I wish more people would admit their mistakes and accept the consequences. The world needs more people like this and fewer Lance Armstrongs.

  • Andrew Nerney
    24 April 2017 at 9:35 pm

    He goofed. He made a poor choice, got called out on it, and has apologized. Ain’t nobody perfect, right? There’s no need to shame him any further.

  • Karen Coutts
    24 April 2017 at 11:36 pm

    I find it distressing how so many people are saying it is understandable, the heat of the moment, how he could have accepted/taken/stolen a second medal. Okay, let’s say in the heat of the moment he made his first mistake, taking an extra medal that wasn’t his to take. But later, when he had recovered from his run, instead of thinking he should give back the medal, he doubled down and presented it in public to his wife, taking a commemorative photo of his thievery and then posting it to the world. This was no heat of the moment mistake.

    He already had people call him out on Instagram and he DID NOT return the medal then. Instead, he made his Instagram account private. He tripled down by not returning the medal then.

    It was only when he was outed in public that he did issue an apology and return the medal. His job security depends on sincere looking contrition. Could he do anything more to make things right now? No. That chance sailed by. Now it’s just damage control.

    He is smart enough to know that he needs to apologize and it must be now to placate his critics. But you know, I think that if he was given the chance again, he’d take the medal but this time not post on Instagram. Because that’s the kind of person he is, based on his behaviour before he was caught.

  • Sarah
    25 April 2017 at 6:58 am

    Hi Derek,

    Ive been following your website for a while now and I am positively impressed how neutral you appear to be and how well laid out the facts in your stories are.

    The entire time I thought that this is a great website to improve fairness in sports and shake up some people. However, whilst you might manage to stay impartial,looks like some of your readers cant. Its not your responsibility as it stands you should be aware of their reaction and the what this means for the people you write about.

    Look at Karen. She contacted him, stalked him and in her last comment makes it clear, that she know what he does for a living.

    People like her draw conclusions and thanks to the wonderful world of the internet feels entitled to not only draw them but act on them. The difference to Derek is that he states the facts and highlights the consequences without judging the person themselves.

    I find it very worrying how out of hands this all has gotten. He apologised – and it took him only two days which is really not long. He prob recieved a lot of very distressing and uncalled for messages during this time.

    He isnt a ‘running guy’, he might not have been aware how big a deal it was – I for sure wouldnt have. Yes, it was a mistake but he apologised and took actions to remediate what happened. Could people now leave hom be and stop publically bashing his character (again, Karen) based on a one-off episode.

    As an aside to Karen. If you really believe in the whole ‘thou shall not steal’ bible thing then have another read, in that big old book second chances and forgiveness are a huge topic. You cant have these one sided moral believes. He broke the rules and did what he could to make up for it. If you expect others to play by the rules then you also should stick to them.

    Anyway Derek, please take the mentality of some of your readers into account. And thanks for being fairly un-biased yourself.

    As an

    • DM
      25 April 2017 at 8:53 am

      Well said. Karen’s “thievery” is a bit dramatic of a description as was her assessment of his character and hypothetical assumptions of what he would do under different circumstances. Whoever said earlier that no one here is perfect and has never committed an error in judgment is correct.

    • Karen Coutts
      25 April 2017 at 1:53 pm

      This is now a world where a U.S. President can make up facts and get elected. I get that honesty and integrity is not a big deal to you. But do not assume that everyone has the same issues with staying honest as you do. I don’t pretend my kid is under age 12 to get a cheaper admission price. Maybe some of you think that’s a-okay. When one of the kids I’m supervising on a bus trip sneaks by the bus driver without paying, I make him go back and pay. If I find money on the sidewalk, I don’t pocket it. And yeah, you probably consider me a freak.

      I live an honest life because I believe this makes the world a better place. And I volunteer my time to advocate for the benefit of all. You probably don’t do that either. It is the same thing which motivates me to make sure the medal thief does the right thing. We should all care more, not less.

      • DM
        25 April 2017 at 2:46 pm

        Wow

    • Karen Coutts
      25 April 2017 at 2:23 pm

      And P.S. I’m not religious. I quoted from the Bible because it’s one of the earliest written laws that people generally agree on. Laws like not killing other people.

      I can forgive a mistake (my friends think I’m too forgiving), but I’m not about to start making excuses for people and minimizing their crimes, which is what you’re doing. Because this *is* a crime. There is not much difference between pretending to have no medal and asking for another one, or waiting until a volunteer looks the other way and swiping one off the table. One involves deceit and is then arguably worse. Taking one medal is based on the honour system, and well, some people have no honour.

  • Get a grip
    25 April 2017 at 9:23 am

    Sure, what the guy did is shitty but this completely over the top reaction by the community is worse. The guy did something minor and we are acting like he killed a puppy. Stalking his Facebook, attacking his family and contacting him. All this because Boston is some holy Mecca that can’t be soiled. Lance Armstrong has literally ruined careers and he’s treated better.

    The running community contains some of the most self-righteous and easily butt hurt people ready to attack over some minor slight or violation of an unwritten rule. He didn’t cheat or dope or hurt anyone. And BAA has more enough extra medals to cover the ones what wander away inappropriately.

    -a 2013 Boston runner

  • Sharon Bare
    25 April 2017 at 9:43 am

    I say he acted in a moment of unbelievable joy. He ran the Boston Marathon. He acted in haste but in the end he made it right. He has been persecuted for his act. We all call the “Running Community” a community of support separate from that of any other. Let’s step out and show this guy that support. There is no one among us who can say they have never done anything wrong. Maybe not publicly, but I know I sure can’t. He apologized and I totally accept that as you all should as well. Let’s move on and be the strong community that we are known for. Strength, love, and friendships with support….

  • RELATED BY