The mysterious man who shoveled off the Boston Marathon finish line during the blizzard on Tuesday is a 25-year-old runner himself, who cleared the snow out of his love for the Marathon and the symbol of unity that the strip brings to the city.
Christopher Laudani, a bartender at the Back Bay Social Club on Boylston Street, borrowed a shovel in the afternoon and, in about 20 minutes, unearthed the finish line from the snow.
The enduring image of the act was captured in a photograph taken by Philip L. Hillman of Lincoln, who was a guest at the Charlesmark Hotel. He posted it on Twitter, where it went viral as Bostonians asked to know the identity of the man shoveling the site.
“It’s more about the finish line itself, what it represents to me. The love of something that is way bigger than any of us,” Laudani, a Suffolk University graduate who lives in Allston, said in an interview Wednesday at the Social Club.
“When you finally cross, all your emotions are out on the little strip of paint on the road,” he said. “It’s a symbol of everything the Marathon stands for.”
Laudani, who grew up in Boxford, has run five Boston Marathons, including in 2013, when two bombs went off near the finish line, killing three people and injuring hundreds.
The running enthusiast was near mile 25 when the bombs exploded, and his younger brother was ahead of him.
“It didn’t immediately occur to really any of us how serious the situation was,” he said.
But Laudani was not thinking of the terrorist attack when he took to the snow Tuesday, he said. He was thinking of the many Boston Marathons before.
“I love the stories that people bring from all over the world to Boston for that short weekend,” Laudani said. “Listening to people’s stories, it’s just breathtaking.”
Despite his passion for the Marathon, Laudani may not be able to run this year because of a knee injury.
The aspiring marine biologist doesn’t know who revealed his identity, but suspects it may have been a co-worker.
If Laudani could have it his way, however, he would have remained anonymous.
“I think it was cooler when it was just ‘this guy’ who shoveled the Marathon finish line,” he said.
Help Boston solve a #BlizzardOf2015 mystery. #WhoShoveledTheFinishLine? #BostonStrong pic.twitter.com/1icgPcW9Vc— Boston Police Dept. (@bostonpolice) January 28, 2015
Globe correspondent Rebecca Fiore contributed to this report. Melissa Hanson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Melissa__Hanson.