Marine vet who crawled across Boston Marathon finish line set to take on NYC race

Julia LeDoux
October 23, 2019 - 4:34 pm
Micah Herndon

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

When Marine veteran Micah Herndon discovered long-distance running in 2014, he was at rock bottom and contemplating suicide.

That’s when he remembered fellow Marines Mark Juarez and Matthew Ballard and British journalist Rupert Hamer.

“My finger on that trigger, their faces popped up in my mind,” he said. “They didn’t have a choice on whether to leave this earth, and I do have a choice. If I would have pulled that trigger, it would have been dishonoring them.”

Herndon, a former lead machine-gunner in the Marine Corps’ “Lava Dogs” division who deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, ran the Boston Marathon earlier this year in honor of his friends who were killed in an IED blast in Afghanistan. Their names were scrawled in black ink on his hand and etched on golden plates threaded through the laces of his bright orange running shoes he wore.

He’ll have Juarez, Ballard, and Hamer with him again when he runs the New York City Marathon Nov. 3.

“I keep those tags,” he said. “I run every race with them. They’ll also be on my bib, too, like I do every race. Hopefully, I’ll have a better race and make them proud this time.”

Herndon called running a therapeutic and positive outlet that helps him control his post-traumatic stress. 

“After I found running, I was able to control it,” he said. “I just keep working on it and work on it day-to-day even now.”

Herndon said he was determined to carry his friends' names across the Boston finish line, but during the final miles of the race, his legs began cramping. Within about 100 yards of the finish, his legs gave out completely, so he simply crawled. After his viral Boston finish, Herndon was invited by organizers to the New York City race.

“Now, I’ve got to go out there and earn that,” he said.

Herndon’s goal time for the New York race is 2 hours, 53 minutes, which translates into a 6 minute, 36-second pace.

“I was trying to get that at Boston because that’s what I had to qualify at for New York,” he said.

Since the Boston Marathon, Herndon has kept in close touch with his running coach and has followed a weekly training schedule.

“Since I’m so new to this sport, all I know is go, go, go as long as I can, which is not the way you should be training for or running marathons,” he said.

Herndon said hundreds have reached out to tell him how inspiring he is, but for him, his fame is all about bringing awareness to veterans.

These are my scars: Marine who crawled across finish line wants vets to find their own road to healing.

Veteran crawled across the finish line in Boston for fallen comrades. Now he’s headed to NY marathon

Reach Julia LeDoux: Julia@connectingvets.com

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