On Nov. 2, thousands of people ran the New York City Marathon, weaving through the complex city on a grueling 26-mile course that the fastest runner, Kenyan Wilson Kipsang, completed in 2 hours and 10 minutes.
But there’s a story of heroism from one U.S. Army soldier who took much longer to complete the race. Master Sgt. Cedric King took more than 10 hours to cross the finish line; he was among the last 10 of more than 50,000 people who tackled the race.
King is a wounded warrior. In 2012, both of King’s legs were amputated after he stepped on an improvised explosive device on patrol in Afghanistan. According to Time Magazine, King was injured attempting to get his fellow soldier to safety. He woke up on a hospital bed in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland and his life was changed forever.
But just a year after sustaining life-changing wounds, King got running.
“It’s not about what happened to you, but what happens in you,” King told TIME.
Last Sunday, somewhere in Brooklyn on the 26-mile trek, King’s prosthetic legs broke. He had to stop and get them repaired and lost invaluable time. Crossing the 59th Street Bridge, King ran past event organizers who were already starting to clean up. A policeman reportedly stopped at one point and offered him a ride. The race was supposed to be over.
But King wasn’t done. “I kneeled down the bridge and I just started to pray,” King told TIME. “I just put one foot in front of the other. That was the only thing I could do.” King runs with Team Red, White, & Blue, a group that uses fitness to unite the military and civilian communities. With two Team RWB members by his side, King finished the race, long after the crowds had gone.
This isn’t King’s first marathon. He ran the Boston Marathon in April without mishap and plans to run more than 400 miles when he officially retires from the military next year to raise money for charity.