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2013 Boston Marathon Champion Lelisa Desisa To Gift His Championship Medal To The City Of Boston In Tribute To All Victims Of The April 15 Tragedy

BOSTON, June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- John Hancock Financial and the Boston Athletic Association today announced that the 2013 Boston Marathon champion, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, will gift his championship medal to the City of Boston, on behalf of all Boston Marathon runners, to honor the victims and families affected by the tragic events of April 15, 2013.

Desisa will present his medal to Mayor Thomas M. Menino on June 23, 2013, at 10 a.m. on the Boston Common, near Charles Street. Desisa will make the tribute after competing in the B.A.A. 10K, which begins at 8 a.m.

In a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Ethiopia last month, Desisa announced his intention of returning to Boston to gift his medal to the City.

"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. This day brought pain to many families and tremendous sorrow into many homes," said Desisa. "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."

"My message to all of you is that sport should always be a source of pleasure and enjoyment, healthy recreation, and positive competition. 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."

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