The whodunnit from Tuesday’s blizzard -- Who shoveled the snow off the Boston Marathon’s finish line? -- has been solved. At least partially.
One of the mystery men has been identified as Chris Laudani, a runner and bartender at the Back Bay Social Club on Boylston Street. He has run the Boston Marathon a few times and is just a fanatic about it, said Ryan Swann, the club's general manager.
"He was actually working that day and then he asked if he could borrow the shovel for a little bit so he could go do it," Swann said.
Laudani told Boston magazine that he wanted to send a message.
"I love the Boston Marathon and everything it stands for," he said. "The finish line doesn’t deserve to be covered in snow.”
But he is not a hero, a word being used about him on social media, he told the magazine.
"I’m just a nut who loves the marathon," he said. "The real heroes are the people who were out there clearing the streets and sidewalks, the [Boston Police Department], and the [Boston Fire Department] who risk their lives every day to keep people safe."
Philip Hillman took photos of what appears to be Laudani clearing the spot from the Charlesmark Hotel on Boylston Street and he started the search.
He and others began tweeting with the hashtag #whoshoveledthefinishline in hopes of finding Laudani.
Hillman, the northeast district manager of the Rodney Strong Wine Estates in Healdsburg, California, told NBC that he had stayed overnight at the hotel because of the blizzard and was working in his room around noon on Tuesday when he stood up to stretch. He looked at the window and spotted the then mystery shoveler.
“And I said, ‘How cool is that?’” he said. “This city loves the marathon and that little patch of ground is like sacred ground.”
So he took a photo with his iPhone, another of the finish line alone and put it first on Facebook and then Twitter.
“And the rest is history,” he said. “My buddy, he retweeted it and it’s been ongoing. I think we broke Twitter.”
By Wednesday afternoon, even the Boston police department was tweeting the photos.
Hillman said Laudani was there for about a half hour keeping the snow off as it fell.
Another photographer, Adam Reynolds, got a close-up.
And apparently, a second man also was out in the blizzard doing the same thing. Kelsey Karkos took a photograph of him and wrote on Instagram: "The guy was so nice to shovel off the #bostonmarathon finish line today to remind us why we go out there and run #everyday even in the blizzard! #bostonstrong #boston."
She wrote that he saw her looking for the finish line while he was shoveling the sidewalk.
"He knew exactly what I was looking for and came over to help me!," she wrote. "Such a great person with some boston spirit during the blizzard! I wish I knew his name!"
The marathon will be run this year on April 18.
Jury selection in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accused of setting off two bombs near the finish line in 2013, was delayed because of the blizzard. The attack killed three people and wounded more than 260.
Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, was killed during a shoot-out with police.
Photo Credit: Philip Hillman II
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