Steven Stallis wants the woman who handed him the raincoat off her back during the 2018 Boston Marathon to know something: He finished the race.
The 27-year-old St. Louis man said, like other runners, he had donned his normal race gear on Marathon Monday to run his first Boston Marathon.
Around mile-15, Stallis told Boston.com, “everything was going numb.”
The seventh-grade science teacher, who coaches cross country and track, could feel hypothermia setting in from the cold, driving rain, and punishing wind. He was having trouble running straight and began looking along the route, hoping someone might have a blanket he could ask to use.
“It was just not looking good,” he said.
Almost in tears he was so uncomfortable, Stallis said he approached a group of spectators and asked if any of them had something he could wear.
“This woman didn’t hesitate,” he said. “She took off her jacket and handed it to me.”
She, and the people she was standing with, encouraged him, telling him that now that he had the jacket, he “had to finish” the race, Stallis said.
“I think I said, ‘Yes, I will,’” he recalled.
He slipped the yellow raincoat on and began to run again — but he had to stop 10 feet away to ask someone to zip it up for him. His hands were so cold he couldn’t do it himself.
Stallis said the jacket, though already wet, helped trap some heat and he was able to complete the race. He finished 498th overall.
Now, the 27-year-old is searching for the woman whose act of kindness helped him achieve his goal of completing the race despite the “atrocious” weather.
“I want to thank her and tell her how much that jacket meant to me and helped me finish Boston,” Stallis said.
The jacket is a medium yellow raincoat from L.L. Bean.
Stallis said if he can’t find the woman to return the jacket, he’ll hold on to it as a reminder that people — out of nowhere — will step up to help others.
“It will be one of my most-prized Boston keepsakes,” he said.