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Marathon mom who kissed mystery man gets funny reply from his wife

by Chris Serico and Scott Stump /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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A single mom who'd sought the identity of a handsome man she'd kissed while running the Boston Marathon has tracked him down — with help from his wife.

 Barbara Tatge, 55, from Lakeland, Tennessee, was running in her first Boston Marathon this year when she heard about the tradition that the women of Wellesley, a town along the course, get kisses during the race. Her daughter, Paige, who is student at Arizona State University, dared her to flip things around and get a picture of herself kissing a good-looking Wellesley man instead. Courtesy of Barbara Tatge

Thankfully, if the author of a letter to the Wellesley Townsman is indeed the spouse of the man who kissed Tennessee resident Barbara Tatge on a dare, everyone involved seems to find the situation funny.

"I don't know if you heard, but the Mystery Man is married," Tatge, 55, wrote in an email to early Monday morning. "I had not read his wife's letter [when reached out for an interview last week]; otherwise I would have said that he is fortunate to be married to a gracious woman with a wonderful sense of humor."

Before running in her first marathon April 20, Tatge said, she'd learned of a local custom involving women spectators who kiss marathon participants as they run through Wellesley, Massachusetts. Tatge's daughter, Paige, an Arizona State University student, reportedly dared her to turn the tables, and get a picture of herself kissing a handsome Wellesley man.

"Before I could even think about what I was doing, my feet were making my way towards this tall, good-looking man,'' Tatge told last week. "He was a great sport. There was no discussion about whether it would be a kiss on the lips or the cheek. It just happened to be a kiss on the lips."

The catch — or at least the first one: Tatge didn't think to get the name of the man, who, she said, shouted "Call me!" as she returned to her marathon pace.

After Paige asked the Townsman for help in tracking down the mystery man, a person claiming to be his wife replied with an upbeat letter, but requested that the married couple's identities remain anonymous.

"When this story aired on the news we were pretty surprised," the man’s wife wrote, according to the Townsman. “For me, I’m not mad. Believe me, our friends have gotten a lot of mileage out of this story and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them give my husband grief!"

In an effort to verify the letter's authenticity, the Townsman requested additional photos of the man's outfit from the photograph that went viral soon after Tatge smooched him on the street. The publication received pictures of what appear to be the man's hat, jacket and plaid shirt.

Tatge told last week that her "ultimate happy ending" would involve a reunion with the man, provided he was single and remained interested. The anonymous letter-writer appeared to empathize.

"While this may not be the ending that you had hoped for, that spontaneous, silly moment in Wellesley captured the fun, energy and spirit of the Boston Marathon," reads another portion of the letter. “I greatly admire your spunk and courage and wish you many happy races in the future. Congratulations on your Boston finish!"

Tatge said that while she appreciates the support of everyone who'd hoped for a happy ending to her mystery kiss, she apologized if she'd caused the man "any discomfort" and hoped the story would start to die down.

"Moving forward, I suspect that her husband will stand further back in the crowd of spectators at races," Tatge told, "and I won’t be seeking out random strangers to kiss along the route!"

Follow writer Chris Serico on Twitter. Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter and Google+.

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