Marine crawls across Boston Marathon finish line in stunning display of strength

Marine veteran Micah Herndon stunned onlookers at the Boston Marathon when he stumbled and fell but refused to give up without finishing the historic race on Monday.

Footage of the astonishing feat, captured and shared on Twitter by professional runner Dana Giordano, quickly went viral, racking up more than 600K views in less than a day.

Giordano, who has run for over 10 years and recently signed a professional running contract with the Boston Athletic Association and Adidas Running leading into the 2020 Olympic USA trials, told AOL.com that she was fortunate enough to have an incredible view of the race because her running club sponsored the marathon.

"We had finish line passes about 10 meters from the finish," she explained. 

"Around 1:30, the masses started rolling in and it got very hot and humid out. I was having a conversation when I saw Herndon army crawling about 30m from the finish," she continued. "He kept attempting to get up but was clutching his leg and then began the long crawl. You can hear my screams from the video and we all were yelling so loudly for him."

To Herndon, who was a lead machine-gunner in the United States Marine Corps' "Lava Dogs" division, finishing the marathon meant much more than a personal triumph. The veteran told the Record-Courrier that he runs to find peace and solitude amid his struggles with post traumatic stress disorder and also to commemorate his fallen comrades.

Specifically, Herndon says he runs to honor three friends who died in a bombing attack in Afghanistan; Mark Juarez and Matthew Ballard, both Marines, and Rupert Hamer, a journalist.

"I run in honor of them," Herndon told the outlet. "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."

Giordano told AOL.com that, at first, she was simply impressed by Herndon's athleticism — but after Sports Illustrated shared her footage on social media, a few of Herndon's friends began tweeting his interview with the Record-Courrier to her, and her impression quickly turned to awe. 

"I couldn’t believe it," she said, adding that the Marine began his crawl directly in front of a memorial set up to honor those lost during the bombing attacks on the Boston Marathon in 2013.

Giordano says she feels overwhelming respect and admiration for Herndon over his refusal to give up, a sense of duty many athletes can relate to.

"As a runner, I know that feeling of running for something bigger than yourself," she told AOL.com. "When you are running for a cause, team, anything you have a will that can not be stopped."

"It was incredibly moving," she added of Herndon's brave finish. "Thank you, Micah, for your service and commitment to the sport and Boston Marathon."

Scenes from the 2019 Boston Marathon: 

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Scenes from the 2019 Boston Marathon
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Scenes from the 2019 Boston Marathon
Men's winner Lawrence Cherono of Kenya crosses the finish line ahead of Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia during the 123rd running of the Boston Marathon on the sixth anniversary of the 2013 Boston marathon bombings in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. April 15th, 2019. REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Kenyan Lawrence Cherono edges Ethopian Lelisa Desisa for first place for the Men's Elite race, at the 123rd Boston Marathon on April 15, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. - Kenya's Lawrence Cherono sprinted to victory in the Boston Marathon on Monday, overhauling Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa in the final few metres of the gruelling race to claim a thrilling win. In damp, chilly conditions, Cherono, Desisa and Kenya's Kenneth Kipkemoi broke away from the field over the final few miles as the world's oldest major marathon reached a dramatic conclusion. Desisa, the 2013 World Champion and two-time Boston Marathon champion, looked to be on course for victory as he kicked for home in the final 200m.But with the crowds at Boston's famous Boylston Street finish line roaring them on, it was Cherono who timed his finish to perfection, overhauling the grimacing Desisa just a few metres from the tape to claim a magnificent win in 2hr 7min 57 sec. (Photo by RYAN MCBRIDE / AFP) (Photo credit should read RYAN MCBRIDE/AFP/Getty Images)
Worknesh Degefa, of Ethiopia, kisses the ground after winning the women's division of the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Worknesh Degefa, of Ethiopia, holds the trophy after winning the women's division of the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Worknesh Degefa, left, of Ethiopia, winner of the women's division, and Lawrence Cherono, right, of Kenya, winner of the men's division of the 123rd Boston Marathon, hold the trophy at the finish line on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
A runner tries to keep dry before the 123rd running of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Kenneth Kipkemoi, left, of Kenya, Lelisa Desisa, center, of Ethiopia, and Lawrence Cherono, right, of Kenya, compete in the final mile of the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, of Charlotte, N.C., finishes the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, left, of Charlotte, shakes hands with grand marshall Meb Keflezighi, of San Diego, after finishing the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Fans cheer on the third wave of runners at the start of the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)
Lawrence Cherono, left, of Kenya, runs to the finish line to win the 123rd Boston Marathon in front of Lelisa Desisa, of Ethiopia, right, on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
A Boston police officer stands with others near a memorial to the 2013 bombing near the finish line, during a moment of silence at the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Richard Reinhardt, left, of Columbia, Md., Nicholas Haddow, second from left, of Calgary, Canada, and Brian Prendergast, right, of Brick, N.J., help Matthew Harpin, of Marietta, Ga., as they approach the finish line in the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Runners race to the finish line in the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Boston Athletic Association Chief Executive Officer Tom Grilk, left, embraces Joan Benoit Samuelson, first women's Olympics marathon winner, after finishing the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Judd Lorson, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., carries his 10-month-old son Logan across the finish line in the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Hiroto Inoue, left, of Japan, and Elkanah Kibet, of Fountain, Colo., head to the finish line in the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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