Every year, there’s much fanfare around the winners of the Boston Marathon. But this year, the person who finished last is inspiring millions. A Venezuelan man crossed the finish line — 20 hours after he started.
Maickel Melamed broke the ribbon at about 5 a.m. Tuesday, after enduring torrential downpours and thunderstorms for the last few miles. The 39-year-old Melamed has a form of muscular dystrophy that severely impairs his mobility.
“Today we conquer the impossible, today more than ever everything is possible,” Melamed tweeted out on Tuesday morning. “Thanks to all.”
He was accompanied along the race by volunteers, and was met at the finish by dozens of cheering friends and supporters.
“The wind, the rain, the cold, everything was overcome…because when we are a team the human creativity and human magic appears every time,” Melamed told FOX25 after his inspirational finish.
Photographer Michael Blanchard was there to see it. He wrote on Facebook:
Someone commented that [Melamed] was just passing through Brookline and scheduled to finish between 2-3am. Since I am up all night anyway, I decided to head into town to try and photograph him crossing the finish line. When I got there I was told by a cameraman that he was still in Brookline. Knowing it would be a while before he made it to Copley Square, I drove to Beacon Street to see what the deal was. Soon I came upon about a hundred people walking (very slowly) and singing while cars passed by them. It was truly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. I walked with them over the Fenway bridge, through Kenmore Square and up Commonwealth Ave until we turned the corner to Boylston. That’s when the torrential downpours started and did not stop. Somehow everyone ignored the rain and kept going. At around 4:30am, 20 hours after starting the race, Maickel crossed the finish line of the The Boston Marathon. I’m not sure why I went to see this, but I’m glad I did.
Melamed has participated in marathons in Chicago, New York, Berlin and Tokyo, but he says Boston is special because it’s where his parents brought him as a child for treatment. Besides being a long distance runner, Melamed is an economist who’s also a motivational speaker and a physiotherapist. Besides Boston, he has run in the New York City Marathon, the Berlin Marathon and the Chicago Marathon — along with peaking Venezuela’s highest mountain, Pico Bolivar.
Maickel Melamed. (Photo: Wikipedia)
Muscular dystrophy is a group of genetic diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms often begin in childhood, most often in boys, and, while there is no cure, medications and therapy can help slow the disease
- With additional reporting by The Associated Press