Lifestyle & Human Interest

Marine Runs Boston Marathon To Honor Fallen Comrades, Crawls to Finish When Knees Buckle


The human body can be truly amazing. Just watch the exploits of world-class athletes and marvel over what they can make their frames do.

But sometimes our bodies can feel anything but capable. Illness, injury and simple fatigue can quickly turn them from wonders to frustrating realities.

At times, the malfunctions of our bodies can make us feel as though our souls are chained by our limitations. For one soldier, though, the misfiring of his muscles couldn’t keep him from honoring the memory of his fallen comrades.

According to the Record-Courier, United States Marine Corps veteran Micah Herndon shouldn’t be alive. During his deployment in Afghanistan, his Marine Corps vehicle was hit by IEDs twice.

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The first time, the explosive device failed to properly detonate due to a faulty blasting cap. The second time, though, the blast lifted Herndon from his perch on his vehicle’s turret and slammed him against its body, knocking him unconscious.

Amazingly, he didn’t suffer any permanent injuries.

“For some reason, even after being hit twice, I am still here,” Herndon said.

“My family was my strength while I was gone. After things happen, those emotions sit in you and it makes you realize how important family truly is.”

Would you ever consider running a full marathon?

However, not everyone in his unit fared so well. Two marines named Mark Juarez and Matthew Ballard, as well as Rupert Hamer, a British journalist, died when hit by the explosion from a similar IED.

After returning home, Herndon struggled to shake off the traumas of war and the deaths of his friends. He eventually found a measure of peace in running.

He ran half marathons in 2017 and 2018, and as his sneakers pounded the pavement, he used the steady rhythm to remind himself of his fallen comrades, murmuring as he ran, “Juarez, Ballard, Hamer. Juarez, Ballard, Hamer. Juarez, Ballard, Hamer.”

“I run in honor of them,” Herndon said. “They are not here anymore. I am here, and I am able.”


WBZ reported that Herndon decided to extend that honor by running a full marathon, and not just any marathon — the Boston Marathon. But a full marathon is a totally different beast than a half marathon, and Herndon learned that at the 22-mile mark.

At 22 miles in, Herndon’s body simply refused to function. His legs locked up, and he went to the pavement.

For most runners, that would’ve been it. They would’ve chalked up the race as a failure, accepted aid from observers and tried again next year.

Herndon, though, isn’t most runners. He finished the race by dragging himself across the finish on his hands and knees.

His finishing time was three hours and 38 minutes.

“The pain that I was going through is nothing compared to the pain that they went through,” he said afterward.

What an admirable way to remember his friends and use this difficulty as an opportunity to honor their sacrifices.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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