Marine who crawled across Boston Marathon finish line appears on 'GMA,' invited to run NYC Marathon

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Marine who crawled across finish line gets surprise on 'GMA'
The Marine veteran who crawled across the finish line at the Boston Marathon got a surprise on "Good Morning America"

BOSTON, Massachusetts -- The Marine veteran who crawled across the finish line at the Boston Marathon and went viral after saying he could only think of his fallen comrades appeared on "Good Morning America" Tuesday and received a surprise of his own.

Micah Herndon was part of a convoy that was attacked in Afghanistan nine years ago, and the names of his fellow soldiers were written on his hand, his shoes and his race bib. They were the inspiration, he said, for when he first started running to escape the horrors of war.

Herndon refused to give up, even though he was suffering painful cramps, because he was running in their honor.

His goal was to qualify for the New York City Marathon, but once he fell behind pace, he said his one mission was to finish by himself.

He said he never considered giving up, even when his legs started giving out about 4 miles from the end of the race Monday.

"That was the longest 4.2 miles I've ever run in my life," said Herndon, who's from Tallmadge, Ohio.

He said his military training kicked in when he dropped to his hands and knees and crawled, at times pulling himself on his stomach, for the final 100 yards.

"It was kind of second nature," he said. "They instill 'adapt and overcome.' Any situation you're in, that's what you do."

During the marathon, Herndon, 31, said he repeated the names of three men -- Marines Mark Juarez and Matthew Ballard and British journalist Rupert Hamer -- mile after mile.

Juarez and Hamer were killed when a roadside bomb exploded in January 2010. Ballard, who was severely injured, died after returning home. Herndon was in that convoy, but his vehicle wasn't hit.

Repeating their names is something Herndon does when he's training or competing in a race, even when he gets strange looks from other runners.

Herndon, who was injured in another blast in 2010, got into running after coming home as a way to deal with post-traumatic stress. He hopes he can inspire other veterans.

"It's hard to reintegrate into society and be a civilian," he said. "My message to other veterans is to find whatever your release is. My release happens to be running."

At the end of the "GMA" interview, Robin Roberts revealed that the organizers of the New York City Marathon were so moved by Herndon's story and incredible finish that they invited him to run in the race this fall.

WABC-TV is the official station of the TCS New York City Marathon, which is set for Sunday, November 3, 2019.

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(The Associated Press contributed to this report)