A seafaring veteran said that everyone he thought while he was bypassing the end of the Boston Marathon were men who died after the attack on their convoy in Afghanistan nine years ago.
Their names were written on his hand, on his shoes and his racing league.
They were an inspiration, said Micah Herndon, when she first flew away from the horrors of the war.
Herndon said he never thought to give up even when his legs began to give about 6km from the end of the race.
"It was the longest 6.8 miles I ever had in my life," said Herndon, who is from Talmarage, Ohio.
He said that his military training began when he fell to his arms and buried and enrolled, sometimes retreating to his stomach for the last 90 meters.
"It was kind of second nature," he said today, one day after finishing his third marathon.
"They fit in" are adjusted and overcome. "Every situation you are in, that's what you do."
During the marathon, Herndon, 31, said he was repeating the names of three men – Marines Mark Juarez and Matthew Ballard and British reporter Rupert Hammer – a kilometer away.
Juarez and Hammer were killed when a bomb exploded along the road in January 2010. Ballard, who was seriously injured, died after returning home. Herndon was in that convoy, but his vehicle was not hit.
The repetition of their names is something Hernandon does when training or competing in the race, even when she gets a strange look from other runners.
Herndon, who was injured in another blast in 2010, began working after returning home as a way to cope with post-traumatic stress. He hopes he can inspire other veterans.
"It's hard to reintegrate into society and be civilian," he said.
"My message to other veterans is to find out what's your issue. My release is going to be done."