Buzunesh Deba in the Honolulu Marathon 2016. GETTY IMAGES

Over a decade after Buzunesh Deba crossed the finish line at the 2014 Boston Marathon, she finally received her prize money. But not from race organisers, the Boston Athletic Association, but rather from a businessman and Boston Marathon fan. 

Deba, a native of Asella, Ethiopia, finished the race behind Kenyan Rita Jeptoo with a time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 59 seconds — which would make her the fastest in the women's race in Boston's 121-year-old history: a record that still stands 10 years later. 

While the ceremonial gold wreath and the combined $100,000 earnings (91,790 euros) —$75,000 for winning plus $25,000 for breaking the course record— initially went to Jeptoo, the Kenyan would later be stripped of her title by the BAA after testing positive for Erythropoietin: a substance known to improve performance by transporting more oxygen to muscles and therefore increases stamina.

While Jeptoo is no longer the official 2014 Boston Marathon winner, the BAA says they never got back the prize money from her and told Deba that they could not pay her until they had reclaimed the funds. 

"The Boston Athletic Association stands for clean sport and fair competition. Following the ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the B.A.A. began pursuit of reclaiming prize money awards from Rita Jeptoo. As the matter is still ongoing, we are unable to comment further at this time. We are in the process of attempting to recover the prize money awarded to Ms. Jeptoo, so that it can be repaid to Ms. Deba."

"While we believe that Ms. Deba is due the prize money as she is the rightful winner of the 2014 women's race, there are policies held by World Athletics and supported by World Marathon Majors that we, along with the other members of the organisation, follow." the BAA said in a released official statement on the case. 

Ten years later, the true winner of the race has yet to receive her prize money from the organisation. 

"She took my chance. I lose so many things," Deba told CBS New York in an interview. "I thought everything is to change after I hear the news, but nothing." That all changed when a complete stranger stepped up.

Doug Guyer read about Deba's story in the Wall Street Journal and decided to do the right thing. The Boston College graduate and longtime Boston Marathon fan donated the $75,000 (68,842 euros) and told the WSJ that he’ll consider sending her the $25,000 bonus (22,947 euros) if the BAA doesn’t.

Guyer said that delaying payment to the clean runner until the race recovers the money from the disqualified athlete is a “ridiculous policy.”

"Just do the right thing, and then if you have to use lawyers to claw it back, knock yourself out,” Guyer said. “Just don’t put the onus on the second-place finisher."

Deba, who now lives in the Bronx, in New York, with her husband and two children, says Guyer’s generosity is nothing short of a miracle. "For us, it's a miracle,” Deba said. "It’s life-changing, big money. We were waiting so long."

The 36-year-old plans to use the money for her two children and to finance her return to elite running.