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Blind Boston Marathoner Saved By Running Guide With Cramps

Many times after a tragedy like Monday's in Boston, accounts of fortuitous near-misses begin to trickle down through the press. This is one of those accounts.

Joe Bellantoni, a 51-year-old man left blind by a car accident six years ago, was running the Boston Marathon with a guide named Peter Fox. He was supposed to be running with two guides, but the other was called away at the last minute because his pregnant wife was sick.


Bellantoni and Fox were cruising along, on pace to finish in 4:09—the first explosion went off at 4:09:43—but Fox began cramping up at the end of the race. If his other guide had not been called off, they would have just left Fox and continued on. Instead, Bellantoni had to stay with Fox, who had to stop three times in the final mile, costing them five minutes.

"He absolutely did save my life," said Joe, a chief financial officer for Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg who has run nine marathons. "Absolutely 100 percent we would have been right there."

"It was the luckiest unlucky day I’ve ever had," Fox said.

Bellantoni's wife, Denise, and Fox's fiancée and brother were waiting at the finish line, expecting the two to finish around that 4:09 mark. Initially they were right in the blast zone, but later moved to get a better view.

"I was saying to myself, ‘He should be coming any second now,’ " Denise said. "All of a sudden, ‘BOOM!’ "

After 20 minutes of waiting around a half-mile away from the finish line and watching dazed and bloodied people stream past them, Bellantoni and Fox were eventually able to contact their loved ones thanks to some cellphones leant by Bostonians. They'd meet up with them two hours later, after walking back to the hotel wearing garbage bags to keep warm.

Photo credit: Getty

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