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April 27, 2006 • Volume 14 Number 16

Marathoner Finds Her 'Miracle Joe'

Kim Aarden of Hopkinton may not have been so sure she believed in angels when she set out to run the Boston Marathon on April 17.

By the time she finished the race 5 hours and 19 minutes later she was sure she had been visited by one that day - and he came from Boston College.

Aarden's angel is a BC freshman by the name of Joseph Turnage, of Dallas, Tex., who saw Aarden struggling as she made her way past the crowds at BC that afternoon.

"I was crying but he kept shouting at me, kept cheering me on," said Aarden.

Eventually, the freshman jumped into the race and joined her.

"I really had no excuse not to," said Turnage, a graduate of Dallas Jesuit High School who was a cross-country and middle distance runner on his high school track team.

Turnage and Aarden ran the final five miles of the race together - one in her running gear, the other in his jeans and tennis shoes. Along the way they became fast friends.

"We talked a lot and I tried to encourage her to finish," said Turnage. "She was struggling a little bit."

Along the way, Turnage also convinced onlookers to cheer for his new friend.

"He got people to chant my name, it was amazing," recalls Aarden, a 38-year-old mother of two.

With 400 yards to go at the end of the race, however, the duo somehow got separated. Aarden went on to finish the marathon and Turnage took a taxi back to campus.

The next day Aarden made several phone calls to University offices seeking the man she called "Miracle Joe."

"I didn't know his last name or his phone number, but I was determined to find him and thank him," said Aarden, whose call to the Office of Public Affairs resulted in a message posted on BCInfo as well as an article in The Heights.

The publicity paid off and Turnage called Aarden on Monday night.

For Turnage, lending a hand has become the hallmark of his young college career. Since arriving at BC last fall the Campus Ministry student worker has taken part in a number of community service activities, including the Appalachia Volunteers and 4Boston.

"I can't say I've done anything like this before," said Turnage, who knew only a little about the Boston Marathon before coming to Boston. "But I guess it paid off." -SG

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