A former marine is being praised for his heroism and bravery. But this time, the recognition was not for his selfless service to his country — it was for the dedication he showed in completing the annual Boston Marathon.
Afghanistan war veteran Micah Herndon set out on the famed 26.2-mile route in honor of his friends and former marines, Mark Juarez and Matthew Ballard, along with British journalist Rupert Hamer. Back in 2010, all three perished when a massive IED explosion decimated their armored vehicle.
Hendon said that running kept him going after the incident, noting that the habitual exercise staved off the effects of PTSD.
“I run in honor of them,” Herndon told the Ohio-based Record-Courier following 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.”
Crawling, unbeaten, to the finish line
By the final portion of the grueling marathon, Herndon was absolutely exhausted — but he wasn’t about to let the last stretch get the better of him. Sunken to his hands and knees, the military man pressed on toward the finish line.
With the crowd reaching fever-pitch, Herndon continued to haul himself through the last few yards — the heroic and emotional final moments were caught on camera:
Herndon, who was knocked unconscious after the IED blast, recalled the moment he woke up and was filled with a deep and lasting sense of gratitude for life.
“I still can’t believe it. It was one of the happiest moments of my life,” Herndon told the Record-Courier. “It was a mixture of crying and laughing at the same time, knowing I had just survived something that was set out to kill me.”
“I will never get over it”
The war hero also spoke openly of his struggles with PTSD.
“I went from being in a war zone one day to trying to live a normal life the next day,” he said. “We were going on three or more missions a day, constantly on guard and when I got back home, I was still in that mode. I never will be able to get over it, I don’t think, but I am coping. I am trying to get rid of the demons.”
And as for those painful final moments at Monday’s race, this Marine said he just had to utter three names to give him that last little bit of gas.
“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,” he said. “They went through much worse, so I run for them and their families.”
In a wonderful gesture of respect and honor, Herndon also sported running shoes that were laced with tags inscribed with the names of the three men who fell on that fateful day.
Many responded to the powerful footage with messages of support for this warrior.
“I am in tears,” one person replied. “Thank you for remembering those who paid the ultimate price for my freedom and the freedom of others.”
What an amazing man! Please keep all those who serve with such bravery and courage in your prayers.