“I kept looking down at my watch and it was like Mile 23, Mile 23-and-a-half, I was like, can the finish line ever get here?” he said. “But I was running at such a slow pace, it took forever.”
When Herndon’s legs couldn’t carry him any further, he dropped to his hands and knees. At certain points, he even relied on his Marines training, resorting to a “low crawl,” lowering his entire upper body to the ground.
Race volunteers flanked Herndon on the final stretch, guiding other runners away from him. After he crossed the finish line, he was immediately lifted into a wheelchair, CBS Boston reported.
Social media erupted with reactions to video of his finish, which was shared by major outlets such as ESPN and Sports Illustrated. One viewer thanked Herndon for “showing America the true definition of honor and valor.”
“Nothing but respect for this man,” another person tweeted. He said he hopes he can use the attention to shed light on the “broken system” that veterans have to deal with when they come home.
“If we can do something about it, that’s all I care about,” he said, urging others to find their own healthy outlets like he has done.
Though he’s still recovering from Boston — he said on Monday he looked “like a baby deer trying to walk” — it won’t be long before Herndon is back to pounding the pavement.
“I’m definitely getting back into it,” he said, “because that’s my therapy and you don’t miss therapy.”