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

Abbie Bennett
April 17, 2019 - 11:35 am
Apr 15, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Micah Herndon crawls to the finish line of the 2019 Boston Marathon.

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

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Micah Herndon crawled, first on his stomach, pulling himself along on scraped forearms and elbows, then on his hands and knees. He kept his head down, focused on the pavement in front of him. He shrugged off help from other runners.

He had to do it on his own. Inches at a time, the Marine veteran headed toward the yellow Boston Marathon finish line.

Three names were scrawled on his hand in black ink, Marines Mark Juarez and Matthew Ballard, and British journalist, Rupert Hamer. Those same names were etched on golden plates on the laces of his bright orange running shoes. And he was determined to carry the names across the finish line.

Herndon, 31, a former lead machine-gunner in the Marine Corps’ “Lava Dogs” division, ran the 26.2-miles in Boston to honor Marines he served with who died in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2010, the Ohio Record-Courier first reported. 

“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.

“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. They went through much worse, so I run for them and their families.”

Herndon was hoping to qualify for the New York Marathon, but because of severe cramps during the final leg of the run, sometimes called “Heartbreak Hill,” he collapsed and had to crawl slowly across the finish. But he did finish, with a time of 3 hours and 38 minutes -- shy of the qualifying time for the New York race.

But on a Good Morning America appearance on Wednesday, Herndon learned that he had been awarded a coveted spot in New York, an invitation from race organizers.

"After I knew I couldn't get my goal pace because I was trying to qualify for the New York City Marathon, I just had one mission in mind and that was to finish by myself," Herndon said on the show Wednesday. "I will be ready by the fall, believe that -- that's for sure. Wow.”

“I say their last names out loud while I’m listening to my music,” Herndon told Uplift. “I just repeat: Ballard, Hamer, Juarez. Ballard, Hamer, Juarez.”

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