20 hours: Disabled man’s inspiring journey to the finish line at the Boston Marathon

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BOSTON (WBZ) – When you watch a race, a lot of eyes are focused on the person who finishes first.

The accomplishment is astounding, but a man who finished last in the 2015 Boston Marathon may have an even better story than the winner of the race.

Maickel Melamed is from Venezuela but decided that he would complete one of the most prestigious races in the world, the Boston Marathon.

However, he knew that he never had a shot of coming in first place.

Melamed has a rare muscular condition that makes walking and even moving difficult.

Running is out of the question.

When Melamed was just a child, his parents brought him from Venezuela to Boston for life-saving treatment.

“For me, I’m so grateful for Boston and to Boston, this is an amazing city,” he told WBZ.

Melamed started the race with the other runners, but quickly fell behind the pack.

However, he was never alone.

The 39-year-old had a group of loyal supporters and friends who kept with him throughout the entire race.

At points, they cheered him on and held him up when his legs gave up.

The group counted aloud in Spanish for each step he took. When he collapsed into their arms, they would prop him back up and 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,” said Natalie Howard, Melamed’s childhood friend.

He was hoping the Boston Athletic Association would give him a finisher’s medal for completing the race.

However, the representatives had all gone home by the time he crossed the finish line.

Melamed finished the Boston Marathon 20 hours after starting it.

On Tuesday, Boston Mayor Walsh received his medal at City Hall.

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