Sammy Nickalls
May 05, 2015 9:38 am

It was April 20th when Barbara Tatge ran her first Boston marathon—AND kissed a total stranger mid-run. Little did she know her kiss would become a viral phenomenon that would end with a special bond, though not the kind you’d think.

Let’s back up. Tatge, a single mother from Tennessee, had taken up running after surviving a rare form of cancer at age 50, according to The Wellesley Townsman.  To stay active and engaged during the epic run, her daughter Paige dared Tatge to kiss a random man—a spectator in the crowd—when she ran through Wellesley and snap a picture of it. If you didn’t know, this is reversing the typical Wellesley tradition, where women spectators give out kisses to male runners. Hey, we’re all for gender role reversals!

So the 55-year-old Tatge did it, and she rather enjoyed it. “That little kiss gave me wings on my shoes for the rest of the race,” Tatge told The Associated Press. Wink wink. The man had even yelled out for Tatge to call him! Gotta be a sign, right?

So as a birthday present to her mom, her daughter decided to find this mystery man who flustered her mom in the best way possible. She took to social media, and countless people joined in to help with the search.

Paige’s efforts worked. . . but unfortunately, the man is married, so this won’t be a riding-off-into-the-sunset story. How do we know this? Because the man’s wife, who wishes the couple to remain anonymous, wrote a letter to Tatge that she submitted to the Townsman. The thing is, it actually couldn’t be sweeter.

The man’s wife said that the attention has been “fun,” and she has no hard feelings. “We all thought this story was hilarious because it is just like my husband to do that,” she said in her letter to the Townsman. “It was one of many memorable stories from a great weekend in Boston.” She had been “pretty surprised” when she saw the story on the news, but not at all mad. “Believe me, our friends have gotten a lot of mileage out of this story,” she continued, “and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them give my husband grief!”

She also provided some heartfelt sisterly love to Tatge.

“While this may not be the ending that you had hoped for, that spontaneous, silly moment in Wellesley captured the fun, energy and spirit of the Boston Marathon,” the man’s wife told Tatge in her letter. “I greatly admire your spunk and courage and wish you many happy races in the future. Congratulations on your Boston finish!”

As for Tatge, this isn’t going to be her last race. “I know I’ll be back to Boston,” she told the Townsman. “Right now my plan is to try to qualify for 2017. I want to come back to Boston most definitely.” Her only change: “Moving forward I will revert to only kissing single men,” she joked.

We totally love this story for so many reasons—Tatge for being courageous and spontaneous, Paige for lookin’ out for her mom’s love life, the mystery man for playing along in good fun, and his wife for being so gracious and understanding. All in the spirit of the Boston Marathon!

(Photo via AP)

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