BOSTON (CBS) – Throughout the duration of the Boston Marathon we tend to focus on whoever finishes first.
Early Tuesday morning the man who came in last had just as powerful of an impact.
Read-Watch: Boston Marathon Stories
Maickel Melamed of Venezuela soldiered through the night walking for nearly 20 hours to finish the 2015 Boston Marathon.
“It was tough, the wind, the rain, the distance, the cold, everything today was overcome,” he said.
Melamad has a rare muscular condition that makes walking and moving around difficult. Regardless, he has completed five marathons, New York, Chicago, Berlin, Tokyo, and finally Boston.
This will be his last.
“For me I’m so grateful for Boston and to Boston this is an amazing city,” he said.
Melamed has a special connection to this city. His parents brought him here as a sick child, they feared he wouldn’t survive much longer.
Boston Children’s Hospital gave him life-saving treatment, allowing him to return home. Now at age 39 he’s back spreading a message of peace with his supporters from the group VAMOS Boston.
“Walking with him is really about bringing that rhythm into your own self, and what are you going to do with it. What are you going to do with that prayer of peace that you carry inside of yourself?” childhood friend Natalie Howard asked.
A loyal crowd of supporters stuck with Maickel all 20 hours. They cheered him on and even held him up. The group counted aloud in Spanish for each step he took, when he collapsed into their arms they’d prop him back up and help him begin again.
“This is not about Maickel, it’s not about Venezuela, it’s about the world, and it’s about creating a world for peace with the intention of putting humanity first,” Howard said.
Melamed cannot continue with his marathon streak as he’s lost too much weight and it’s taken too much of a toll on him physically.
He was hoping the Boston Athletic Association would give him a finisher’s medal for completing the race. He said he was willing to be patient as he knows he was “so late.”
Better late than never, Boston Mayor Walsh presented Melamed his medal at City Hall Tuesday afternoon.
You can follow Susie on Twitter @SusieWBZ.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports