Two Boston Marathon runners, one from Alaska and the other from New England, who were brought together during the turmoil in Boston on Monday had a happy reunion Thursday night.
Brent Cunningham of Sitka had just finished the Boston Marathon when he and his wife tried to console a young woman who was blocked from reaching the finish line because of the explosions.
Cunningham gave his marathon medal to Laura Wellington of Cambridge, MA. who was sitting on a bench and crying after several tense minutes of not knowing whether her family was safe.
After the encounter, Wellington had no idea who the kind husband and wife were or where they were from until she posted her story on Facebook to try to find them.
The two runners reunited in Boston on Thursday during a meeting arranged by a network news program. When he described the encounter to Channel 2, Cunningham said he saw Wellington pull out a Boston Marathon medal and thought she was trying to give his medal back to him.
"I say to her: 'Laura Wellington, you listen to me -- I do not want my medal back, that was my gift to you,'" Cunningham said. "She goes, 'Oh no, this is not your medal. What you didn't know was a couple of hours later, I got a medal when I went and got my stuff (from the marathon) l got a medal, so I'm giving you my medal.' And I was like, 'Awww, that is the greatest!' So when it's all said and done, she has my medal; I have her medal."
Cunningham says he feels the events in Boston have sparked what will be a life-long friendship with Wellington.
"Ultimately, the power of loving people in the time of need is the way life is intended to be," Cunningham said. "And for all of this, I feel like I've been blessed more than anyone or anything, and I think Laura would say the same -- and it's just been a really surreal, neat experience for both of us."
Wellington said Friday that she feels Cunningham is an amazing person, and she hopes to visit Alaska someday.
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