Marine Honoring Fallen Comrades Crawls Across Boston Marathon Finish Line

Micah Herndon was honoring friends who didn't survive a 2010 attack in Afghanistan

Micah Herndon crawls across the finish line of the 123rd Boston Marathon. (Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Micah Herndon crawls across the finish line of the 123rd Boston Marathon. (Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Boston Globe via Getty Images

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Ex-Marine Micah Herndon’s body began to fail him down the stretch in Monday’s Boston Marathon, but his will to honor three fallen comrades he served with who didn’t survive an attack in Afghanistan in 2010 never did.

Running in tribute to Marines Matthew Ballard and Mark Juarez and British journalist Rupert Hamer, Herndon finished the race in three hours and 38 minutes, but was unable to complete the entire thing on his feet.

Limited by severe cramps that turned his legs to jelly, the 31-year-old former Marine crossed the finish line on his hands and knees.

“I run in honor of them,” Herndon told the Record-Courier prior to the race. “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. If I get a heat cramp while running or my feet hurt or I am getting exhausted, I just keep saying their names out loud to myself.”

Herndon must have been saying those names a lot on Monday as he struggled up Heartbreak Hill, down Commonwealth Avenue and across the finish line in Copley Square.

After the race, Herndon told the Washingon Post it was important to him to finish the 26.2-mile course without any assistance.

“Nothing against no one that got help, but I didn’t want help,” Herndon said. “I wanted to finish on my own because whatever pain that I was feeling at that time, or whenever, is nothing compared to the guys and the families that were lost over there.”

Somewhat of an internet sensation after the videos of his inspirational crawl went viral, Herndon said he wants to use his newfound fame to expose the “broken system” veterans encounter after their service.

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