There’s no shortage of inspiring athletes participating in the 121st Boston Marathon on Monday.
But one runner in particular drew a large number of cheers on the course and posts to social media: a bearded runner holding an American flag.
That man is Staff Sgt. Jose Luis Sanchez, a Marine who lost the lower part of his left leg after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in 2011. He ran his first marathon in 2015 in Washington D.C., and finished last year’s Boston Marathon in just under six hours.
Sanchez is running this year’s race as part of Team Semper Fi, and is fundraising for the Semper Fi Fund, which is dedicated to providing “immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post-9/11 wounded, critically ill and injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families.”
After finishing Monday’s race with a time of 5:46:13, Sanchez told CBS’s David Wade that he had been given the flag by his fellow servicemen, who also signed it. When Wade mentioned that he was an inspiration for many spectators, Sanchez credited the crowd for inspiring him as well.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you all,” Sanchez said. “Without the love and support of everyone here.”
— AndreaWBZ (@AndreaWBZ) April 17, 2017