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2014 Boston Marathon winner finally gets prize money, but not from race organizers

Boston Marathon 2014 winner finally gets prize money, but not from BAA
Boston Marathon 2014 winner finally gets prize money, but not from BAA 02:01

BOSTON - 2014 Boston Marathon winner Buzunesh Deba finally got her prize money, but it came from a stranger, not race organizers.

Who won the 2014 Boston Marathon?

Deba finished the 2014 race just behind Rita Jeptoo. But two years later, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), which organizes the marathon, stripped Jeptoo of the title because of doping. That gave Deba the official title and she also became the official course record holder for running Boston in 2 hours, 19 minutes and 59 seconds, a record that still stands 10 years later.

But she never got that prize money from the BAA.

Where is the prize money?

Jeptoo was given $75,000 for winning the race and an extra $25,000 for setting the course record. The BAA says they never got it back from her.

"She took my chance. I lose so many things," Deba, originally from Ethiopia, told CBS New York last month. "I thought everything is to change after I hear the news, but nothing."

Deba, who now lives in the Bronx with her husband and two children, had waited nearly eight years for the $100,000 still owed to her.

Then, someone she doesn't even know stepped up instead.

Doug Guyer, a Boston College graduate and a businessman in the Philadelphia area, read about Deba's story in the Wall Street Journal.

The Boston Marathon fan decided he would pay her out of his own pocket. Guyer sent Deba a check for $75,000, according to the Journal, and he's considering also paying her the remaining $25,000 for setting the women's record if the BAA does not.

Boston Marathon organizers on the delay

So, what's taking the BAA so long to get the money to Deba?

Here's the statement they sent to WBZ-TV Monday night:

The Boston Athletic Association stands for clean sport and fair competition. Following the ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the B.A.A. began pursuit of reclaiming prize money awards from Rita Jeptoo. As the matter is still ongoing, we are unable to comment further at this time. We are in the process of attempting to recover the prize money awarded to Ms. Jeptoo, so that it can be repaid to Ms. Deba.

While we believe that Ms. Deba is due the prize money as she is the rightful winner of the 2014 women's race, there are policies held by World Athletics and supported by World Marathon Majors that we, along with the other members of the organization, follow.

The B.A.A is still pursuing Ms. Jeptoo to recover the prize money for Ms. Deba, which the B.A.A. believes would be a just and fair result for her and all runners who follow the rules.

As this matter is still ongoing, we are not able to comment further at this time.

"Life-changing money"

Deba told the Journal Guyer's check is "life-changing "money that she will use for her children and to return to elite running.

A World Athletics spokesperson told the newspaper that there is no rule on the books that prevents the BAA from paying Deba the prize money on a "purely voluntary basis." 

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