Marathon runners selling medals for charity
April, 22, 2013
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com
On Sunday afternoon, Albert Swallow did something that he never thought of doing before: He sold his marathon medal.
Buying or selling a medal in the marathon world is frowned upon, but Swallow saw the skyrocketing price of memorabilia associated with the race and couldn't pass up the opportunity.
But unlike so many others at times of death and tragedy, who seek to cash in on the moment for their own personal gain, Swallow -- who finished the Boston Marathon in 3 hours and 15 minutes -- says he's not pocketing the money.
"I recognize the controversy regarding the sale of items related to this year's race," Swallow said via e-mail. "But I could not justify hanging this medal in my closet, where I have all my race medals, when someone would pay such a high price for it and I could donate the proceeds to One Fund to help the victims."
Swallow sold the medal from this year's marathon for $599. He's also selling a poster and other Marathon paraphernalia in a separate auction. Some others who have sold their items have promised that they'd also donate what they earned to One Fund, the charity organized by Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.
Four finisher medals have been sold on eBay for an average of $646 each, with one selling for $1,025. Finisher shirts and jackets are also selling for high prices, including one long sleeve shirt that sold for $737.35 last night.
Swallow, who lives in Maine, said he has no idea why someone would want his medal from this race.
"I cannot speculate what drives collectors to pay such high prices but the opportunity to assist some way was too great to ignore."
There are many other efforts raising money for the Boston victims. Adidas is selling a tribute t-shirt for $26.20 with 100 percent of the proceeds going to One Fund. A conglomerate of companies, including the Competitor Group and Brooks, is selling "Run Now" bracelets for $1.99 with the proceeds also going to One Fund.
People have also donated a lot of money to the Boston victims themselves. Jeff Bauman Jr., who is now a double amputee and helped identify the bombers, has received $583,000 in donations through the website GoFundMe and almost $550,000 has been raised for Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, a mother and daughter who suffered severe injuries from the bombings.