In 2013 the Boston Marathon was viciously attacked. When a home-made bomb went off at the finish line, three people lost their lives and 264 were injured, including 14 who needed amputations. Since then, the running of the annual marathon has become a symbol of perseverance for many, with some of the victims of the bombing returning to run again. Runners have come from all over to show their grit, determination and for many, their patriotism.
Staff Sgt. Jose Luis Sanchez a retired marine and amputee completed the Boston Marathon with a U.S. flag in hand.
This year’s breakout Boston Marathon story of perseverance and patriotism is undoubtedly that of retired marine, Staff Sgt. Jose Luis Sanchez, who lost part of his leg in 2011 after stepping on an IED while on duty in Afghanistan. Sanchez completed the 26 mile race in under 6 hours, while wearing a “Semper Fi” shirt and waving a giant U.S. flag the whole way. Whatever your politics, there’s no denying his strength and bravery, coming back to run after not being able to stand for more than three seconds at a time.
In a video from The Boston Herald, Sanchez commented on his journey from not being able to stand, to running 26 miles.
Credit: Boston Herald / Youtube
“I wanted to not only recognize veterans and stuff, but everyone that thinks that they’re unable to do something. I couldn’t stand up for more than three seconds or walk more than two feet, and I fought my way for four, five years, just to be able to walk farther, be able to lift my body up. And I kept on pushing it. Mentally and spiritually I was good, so I wanted to push it even further and do the marathon.”
There were tons of images of Sanchez running with his flag on social media.
According to an interview with Runner’s World, the flag he ran with was given to him by his patrol unit as he recovered. The flag has positive messages written on it in marker. Of the flag, Sanchez told Runner’s World “I boxed it up for three or four years because I didn’t want to acknowledge it.” He then went on to say: “One day I opened it back up and read through the inspirational quotes they sent me and I was motivated.”
The crowds were all about it, cheering him on loudly while he pushed forward.
He looked strong from start to finish.
But no image was as powerful as seeing him actually cross the finish line, with the crowd cheering and his flag waving.
— AndreaWBZ (@AndreaWBZ) April 17, 2017
A fellow runner offered to help, but Sanchez was strong on his own.
If you’re not crying yet, put on your seatbelt and grab some tissues. He ran with his wife, who recorded and cheered him on the whole way, hugging him at the end.
Credit: Dulce Sanchez / Facebook
They crossed the finish line together and shared a big hug.
As beautiful as it all is, according to his Instagram account, it was a long and difficult road and inspiration was only the beginning.
♠I HAVE BEEN SCARED AND FUCKING TERRIFIED OF THIS BOSTON MARATHON. IM AFRAID OF FAILURE AND LOSS AND TO LET EVERYONE DOWN, BUT THROUGH THE LOVE AND SUPPORT. I’M REMINDED THAT IT’S NOT ABOUT BEING THE BIGGEST , STRONGEST OR FASTEST PERSON. ITS ABOUT NEVER FUCKING GIVING UP. NEVER FUCKING QUITING. NEVER FUCKING SURRENDERING. IT’S ABOUT FIGHTING BACK WHEN LIFE PUSHES YOU AROUND. YOU FUCKING PUSH BACK AND PUSH BACK FUCKING HARD. IT’S ABOUT BEING FUCKING RESILIENT, KEEPING THE MOTHER FUCKING DRIVE ALIVE AND PUSHING THE LIMITS OF FUCKING POSSIBLE. THAT’S WHAT THE FUCK IT’S ALL ABOUT!!!!! ________________________________________________ #FUCKIT #FUCKSHITUP #SEMPERFI #DRIVE #DESIRE #MOTIVATE #INSPIRE #NEVERGIVEUP #NEVERSURRENDER #BERESILIENT #FITSPIRATION #FITFAM #AFFLICTIONSPORT #AFFLICTION #FIGHTHARD #LIVEFREE #LIVEFAST #LOVEHARD
According to him, it all started with fear, but an immense sense of hard work and determination has brought him all the way to where he is today.
Sanchez went on to work amazingly hard and used his Instagram account to inspire others with his journey, amassing over 30k followers along the way.
The man is a beast.
After the marathon, Sanchez took to Instagram, to drive the inspirational point home.
?HEY GUYS!!! JUST WANTED TO SAY THANK YOU FOR ALL THE LOVE, SUPPORT, PRAYERS AND POSITIVE VIBES. ____ JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME. IT'S ABOUT WHAT THIS REPRESENT. IT'S FOR YOU ALL TO SEE HOW WE ALL IMPACT EACH OTHER FOR A GREATER GOOD. __ ?GOD JUST SPARED ME TO BE USED AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR OTHERS. _ MF'N R.A.H!!!!!
“Just wanted to let you know this is not about me. It’s about what this represent(s). It’s for you all to see how we all impact each other for a greater good.”
Hang on while I go find a gym to sign up for and hug my mom. No, you’re crying.