Marine crawls to Boston finish line

A Marine veteran said all he was thinking about as he crawled to the finish of the Boston Marathon was the men who died after an attack on their convoy in Afghanistan nine years ago.

Their names were written on his hand, his shoes and his race bib. They were the inspiration, Micah Herndon said, when he first started running to escape the horrors of war.

Herndon said he never considered giving up even when his legs started giving out about 4 miles (6 kilometers) from the end of the race Monday.

“That was the longest 4.2 miles I’ve ever run in my life,” said Herndon, who’s from Tallmadge, Ohio.

He said his military training kicked in when he dropped to his hands and knees and crawled, at times pulling himself on his stomach, for the final 100 yards (91 meters).

“It was kind of second nature,” he said Tuesday, a day after finishing his third marathon. “They instill ‘adapt and overcome.’ Any situation you’re in, that’s what you do.”

During the marathon, Herndon, 31, said he repeated the names of three men — Marines Mark Juarez and Matthew Ballard and British journalist Rupert Hamer — mile after mile.

Juarez and Hamer were killed when a roadside bomb exploded in January 2010. Ballard, who was severely injured, died after returning home. Herndon was in that convoy, but his vehicle wasn’t hit.

Repeating their names is something Herndon does when he’s training or competing in a race, even when he gets strange looks from other runners.

Herndon, who was injured in another blast in 2010, got into running after coming home as a way to deal with post-traumatic stress. He hopes he can inspire other veterans.

“It’s hard to reintegrate into society and be a civilian,” he said. “My message to other veterans is to find whatever your release is. My release happens to be running.”

Injured gymnast hopes to walk down aisle at wedding

NEW YORK (AP) — An Auburn University gymnast who suffered career-ending injuries to both knees says her goals now include walking down the aisle at her upcoming wedding.

Samantha Cerio, an aerospace engineering major from North Carolina, also is preparing to graduate and has accepted a job with Boeing as a structural design analysis engineer.

Cerio, 22, discussed her future plans in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show that aired Monday.

Auburn’s gymnastics coach said Cerio suffered dislocations and torn ligaments in both knees in a gruesome injury during an NCAA regional semifinal in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this month. She has tweeted against people sharing the video, writing that her pain is “not your entertainment.”

Women’s wrestling to cap Tokyo Games competition

TOKYO (AP) — The wrestling tournament at the Tokyo Olympics will end with a women’s freestyle gold medal match during six of the seven days of competition in various weight classes.

The Tokyo Organizing Committee announced the move on Tuesday, saying it will help ensure “high attendance” for each day of the tournament. The International Olympic Committee will likely appreciate the move, after it briefly booted the sport in 2013 in part because of concerns over gender equity.

Japan has been the dominant nation in women’s wrestling since it started at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The Japanese have won 11 of the 18 gold medals at the last three Olympics.

United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic noted the good crowds at the 2016 Rio Games and expects this schedule “will help us reach even more fans and create a positive and energetic environment for all our competitors.”

The Greco-Roman discipline will begin Aug. 2, followed by women’s and men’s freestyle. Women don’t wrestle Greco-Roman.

United World Wrestling is the international governing body, headquartered in Switzerland.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press.