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Boston Marathon winner returns medal as tribute to bombing victims

Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia returns to Boston, says bombing a 'senseless' act.

boston marathon winner returns medal 06 23 2013Enlarge
Lelisa Desisa Benti of Ethiopia crosses the finish line to win the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. Benti returned his winner's medal on June 23, 2013, to honour the Boston bombing victims. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia returned his medal to the city on Sunday in tribute to those killed and wounded in the bombings that marred the race.

He presented his medal to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino as hundreds gathered for the BAA 10K, a shorter race offered by the marathon’s organizers.

“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,” he said at the Boston Marathon website.

“This day brought pain to many families and tremendous sorrow into many homes. … 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.”

The 10-kilometer race attracted over 6,400 runners, Boston’s first major race since twin bombings killed three and wounded dozens on April 15.

A police officer died in a gun battle the next day during a city-wide manhunt for suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Sunday’s race at Boston Common sold out in hours, The Associated Press said.

“Let me tell you, as mayor of this great city for the last several years, I have never seen Boston come together like it has after the attacks,” Menino said. “Thank you for making Boston stronger.”

More from GlobalPost: Complete coverage of the Boston bombings

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130623/boston-marathon-winner-returns-medal-tribute-bom