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Boston Marathon Champion Gifts Medal to Honor Bombing Victims

June 24, 2013

Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa

A photo from April 15, 2013 shows Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, crossing the finish line to win the men's race at the 17th Boston Marathon. Photographer: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa gave his 2013 championship medal to the city as a gift to honor the victims and families affected by the April bombing that killed three and injured more than 260 people.

The 23-year-old from Ethiopia presented the medal to Mayor Thomas Menino yesterday in what he said was a “gesture of my solidarity with the victims of this senseless act of violence.” It was Desisa’s first trip to Boston since the April 15 attack.

“Less than two hours after I had crossed the finish line as this year’s champion, my joy turned to sorrow as I learned the tragic news of the death and the injury to so many innocent people,” Desisa said in a June 18 statement announcing the presentation. “This day brought pain to many families and tremendous sorrow into many homes.”

Desisa finished as the runner-up by seven seconds to Kenya’s Stephen Sambu in yesterday’s Boston Athletic Association’s 10-kilometer event, the city’s first race since the Boston Marathon.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at

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