Meet the man who finished last in the Boston Marathon (+video)
At this year's Boston Marathon, the inspirational stories were in no short supply as runners from all walks of life undertook the difficult challenge of completing a marathon.
Long after the fanfare at the finish line of the 119th Boston Marathon faded away, Maickel Melamed of Venezuela was still running.
Mr. Melamed would complete the marathon in some 20 hours, almost a full day after taking off from starting line in Hopkinton, Mass. Melamed, who has been diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy, crossed the finish line at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, according to WBZ-TV Boston. To do so, he overcame rain, wind, and thunder in the early morning hours.
Melamed has a limited ability to walk, but volunteer supporters from his foundation "Vamos" (link in Spanish) made every step of the 26.2 miles by his side. A small assembly of friends and media were on hand as he approached the finish line.
“The wind, the rain, the distance, the cold, everything today was overcome,” Melamed told reporters after finishing. He even maintained a sense of humor, joking, "I'm so late."
The motivational speaker, economist, and psychotherapist has refused to let his physical condition limit him. He climbed Venezuela's tallest mountain, Pico Bolivar in 2006, according to the Daily Mail.
"For the Venezuelan people, he is like a symbol of hope," his friend Albert Deveer told WCVB-TV Boston. "He gives this message: If you can dream it, you can do it."
Melamed has competed in marathons in Berlin (linked video in Spanish), Chicago, New York, and Tokyo, but has said that the Boston Marathon will be his last because the city has a special place in his heart. His parents brought him to Boston as a child for medical treatment.
“I’m so grateful to Boston and this amazing city,” Melamed added when he spoke to reporters.
Melamed received his medal from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Tuesday afternoon.
The healing process continued in Boston for an event that was struck two years ago by a terrorist attack. Marathon bombing victim Rebekah Gregory DiMartino competed again this year in a gesture of support to others who were affected.
Ms. DiMartino had her left leg amputated following injures sustained in the bombing. After completing the 2014 race in a wheelchair, DiMartino crossed the finish line this year on two feet, one of them prosthetic.
"I didn't realize I was so fearful, but I truly was and until yesterday," DiMartino told ABC News in March. "I had this sense of insecurity because of how much I had lost at the finish line that day and I took so much of that back."