In the early hours of Tuesday morning, when most other competitors had left, Maickel Melamed from Venezuela finished the 119th Boston Marathon.
Having taken 20 hours to finish the 26.2-mile run, Melamed was last but was still surrounded by a crowd of supporters who cheered his every step. That's because Melamed has a medical condition in which most people wouldn't even walk a few steps, let alone an entire marathon.
The 39-year-old college professor has muscular dystrophy, which weakens the musculoskeletal system and hampers locomotion. He was diagnosed with the disease as a child, after which he came over to the States and was treated at Boston Children’s Hospital, as per CBS Boston.
But despite the best medical help, his disease did debilitate him. It, however, could not dampen his spirits. To prove that nothing is impossible and to spread his message of love, Melamed has run marathons in Berlin, Chicago, New York, Tokyo and now Boston.
“It was tough, the wind, the rain, the distance, the cold, everything today was overcome,” Melamed said, reports CBS Boston. “For me I’m so grateful for Boston and to Boston this is an amazing city.”
While a lot able-bodied men bitch and moan about the disadvantages they have as compared to others, heroes like Melamed keep their heads down and make history.
Here are a few more heroes like Melamed:
In 1962, Dick Hoyt was told that his infant son Rick will be bed-ridden for the rest of his life. Complications during Rick's birth had cut off oxygen supply to his brain and rendered him a spastic quadriplegic. Dick refused to let his son be a vegetable for the rest of his years. He trained him to never lose hope and keep fighting.
Rick wasn't even able to speak, but now he is one half of Team Hoyt that has competed in more than 1,000 racing and marathon events around the world. The father and son duo were inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame in 2008.
Amelia Dickerson lost her eyesight as a teenager but she didn't use it as an excuse to stop doing what she loved, which was running, in her case. With the help of a guide, Dickerson runs five miles a day and has gotten so good that in 2013 she set the national blind 5,000 meter record. She has taken part in numerous marathons, and when not running, she teaches at the University of Colorado.
After a swimming accident left him paralyzed from the left shoulder down at the tender age of 15, Pakistan's Sarmad Tariq refused to live a life of dependence. He finished his studies, became a life coach and a motivational speaker, but his greatest achievement remains his world record for the longest non-stop drive by a quadriplegic. He drove his hand controlled car for 33 hours, covering a distance of 1,847 km from Khyber to Karachi.
In 2005, Tariq also participated in the ING New York City Marathon and Lahore Marathon.
Vinod Rawat lost his leg in an accident at the age of six but has been participating in marathons across India for as long as he can remember. With the help of a prosthetic leg, Rawat has proved that a physical deficiency can be overcome with determination and undying spirits.