No matter the struggle, Boston Marathon runners cross the finish line with a sense of pride

BOSTON (WHDH) - It was a battle of mind over body for Micah Herndon during Monday’s Boston Marathon.

Miles before Boylston Street, Hendon’s legs gave out on him. Normally, he’s a fast runner — but on this day, the marathon got the best of him.

“The race didn’t go as planned,” he said. “I was trying to qualify for New York, but at Mile 22, both legs locked up.”

Herndon could barely walk on his cramping legs. But there was no way he was giving up. The war veteran ran Boston to honor the three Marines who were killed while fighting alongside him in Afghanistan. He had been through hell and back. There was no way he was going to quit today, even when his body was quitting on him.

“Right there people I had already passed, passed me, and I had no control over that,” he said. “That was the worst 4 miles I’ve ever ran in my entire life.”

There’s a sense of relief once you cross the finish line. It’s a wave of exhaustion met with a wave of emotion, especially when your entire family is waiting on the other side.

“The best part, that makes it all worth it,” said Erica Santos, smiling as she finished. “It was great to see all my friends out there and my family just made it perfect.”

The runners get encouragement, but they also give support, raising tens of thousands for charities close to their hearts.

Eight hours after the elite runners finished, some were still on the course — just as determined to cross the finish line at their pace.

There are ups and downs during the race, and not just Heartbreak Hill. But no matter the finishing time, everyone seems to have the same sentiment once they finish.

“I’m glad it’s over,” one woman said minutes after she finished. “And my feet are tired.”

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