Tayla Savage of Hudson, N.H., had always dreamed of running the Boston Marathon and trained all year to get herself to the historic Boylston Street finish line. When Savage went to collect her medal, a volunteer told her that the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A) had run out of medals and it would have to be mailed to her. Toronto’s Kevin Curnock, who finished the marathon earlier, cheered her on and immediately went up to congratulate Savage. When Curnock realized she did not receive a medal, he immediately took off his medal and put it around her neck.
“This is your first marathon,” Curnock told Savage. “You ran for eight hours. You deserve this.”
Savage was overcome by emotion and honour, embracing Curnock and posing with him for a picture. “It didn’t feel real,” Savage said to local news. “I will cherish this moment forever.”
“I could barely finish, and I had the benefit of crowds cheering for me and water stations,” said Curnock. “Her determination—I’ve never seen anything like it. She deserves this medal more than anyone else!”
Curnock, 47, and his partner, Kate, had just left dinner when he noticed that the race signage was being torn down, while one lone runner was charging down Bolsyton Street. “She had a shirt that said ‘Tayla’ and underneath it read ‘This is my first marathon!!!’ said Curnock. “We have to cheer for her!”
Savage got into the race as a charity runner after raising more than $10,000 for the Massachusetts charity Cradles to Crayons, whose mission is to provide children living in homeless or low-income situations with the essential items they need to thrive—at home, at school and at play.
She started the race in the last corral (just before 12 noon) and reached Boylston Street around 8 p.m. Her finish time is listed as unofficial by the B.A.A., as official timing ceases six hours after the last official starter has crossed the start line. According to rule (5.1.6), participants who finish after the official timing has ceased may not be included in race results.
Curnock’s act of generosity and sportsmanship is a moment Savage will remember for the rest of her life. He completed the marathon in 3:34:52 and currently lives and trains in Toronto with The Runners Shop and Longboat Roadrunners.
Savage plans to put the medal in a frame with her race bib when she’s finished wearing the medal, which she plans to do for the next week.