Maickel Melamed, a man ravaged by muscular dystrophy, finished the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon in 20 hours and in last place. He crossed the finish line just before 5 a.m. on Tuesday morning, almost an entire day after the event began. “His story is truly one of inspiration,” Mayor Marty Walsh said as he bestowed a medal for completing the race to Melamed at a gathering with supporters and city officials.
One would think the person who wins the race is the biggest story of the day, but it’s Melamed — along with a woman who ran the race on her prosthetic leg after being injured in the 2013 bombing — who may well be the race’s real heroes.
Melamed is a 39-year-old Venezuelan man who was joined by a group of well-wishers and media members who had heard about the racer. The scene turned into one of almost 100 people who walked, sang, cheered and clapped for Melamed as he pushed on through the darkness trying to accomplish his goal.
“The rain, the distance, the cold — I mean everything today was overcome because when we are a team, the human creativity, the human magic appears every time,” Melamed himself said after finishing the course.
Melamed has become a light of hope to the citizens of his home country of Venezuela and the world.
Melamed told reporters after the race that the Boston Marathon holds extra special meaning for him — his parents brought him to the city as a child so doctors could treat his muscular dystrophy.