The Boston Marathon is synonymous with hard work, dedication, and triumph. We have seen countless stories of perseverance at the marathon, especially after the 2013 terrorist attack that killed three people and injured hundreds more. Some lost limbs only to be back the next year to show nothing will stop them. This year a Marine ran the 26-mile treck for a special reason.
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Micah Herndon, a Marine who came all the way from Tallmadge, Ohio, for the race, was running for his three friends who died. In 2010, Mark Juarez, Matthew Ballard and Rupert Hamer were killed in a bomb attack during their tour in Afghanistan, the Daily Mail reported.
Herndon survived but suffers from PTSD to this day. Instead of letting it destroy his life, the 31-year-old Marine decided to honor his late friends by competing in the Boston Marathon. The 26-mile run can get the best of even the most highly trained runner, so at mile 22, his legs locked up. But he didn’t quit. He crawled the rest of the way.
Race volunteers were around him to make sure other runners didn’t trample the Marine. As he crawled, he never gave up. Instead, he kept reciting his late friends’ names. “I say their last names out loud while I’m listening to my music,” Herndon explains. “I just repeat: ‘Ballard, Hamer, Juarez. Ballard, Hamer, Juarez.’”
After much grit and determination, Herndon crossed the finish line without assistance. After he crawled across the finish line, he was put into a wheelchair where he was taken for medical attention.
After receiving medical attention, Herndon spoke to the media after they caught wind of why he was running. “I run in honor of them,” Herndon told the Record-Courier. “They are not here anymore. I am here, and I am able. I am lucky to still have all my limbs. I can still be active. I find fuel in the simple idea that I can run. Some cannot.”
At one point, Herndon was asked how much pain he was in as he was crawling on concrete. “The pain that I was going through is nothing compared to the pain that they went through,” he nobly said.
Herndon finished the race in three hours and 38 minutes.
“I just repeat: ‘Ballard, Hamer, Juarez. Ballard, Hamer, Juarez.’ Micah Herndon told WBZ Boston.
The Afghanistan vet was running to honor his three fallen comrades, and refused to give up after his legs gave up on mile 22 finishing the marathon by crawling the last 4 miles. pic.twitter.com/j0PTWTuGyi
— KSL Newsradio (@kslnewsradio) April 16, 2019