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An 'awesome moment': Boston Marathoners carry runner to the finish line

April 22, 2014 at 10:34 AM ET

With 36,000 runners and more than 1 million spectators, countless moments were captured in photographs during the 2014 Boston Marathon. 

One particularly moving moment came down the final stretch of Monday's race, where Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery captured pictures of runner Damien Hurst, 38, of Massachusetts, who collapsed near the finish line. Fellow runners nearby, rather than continuing to finish the race, helped pick Hurst up and carry him up to the finish line to allow him to finish on his own.

Lowery tweeted that it was initially just two runners who helped him to his feet.

Upon realizing he wouldn't be able to stay up on his own, another man and woman stopped to help.

With just hundreds of feet remaining, the four helpers lifted him, determined to help get him across the finish line. 

The five made it to the finish line, receiving what Lowery said was loudest cheer he heard all day.

Jim is the good Samaritan runner wearing a turquoise shirt in the photos. 

"The gentleman (in the red shirt) was really committed to not letting the runner fall, so when I approached, I grabbed one of (the runner's) arms,'' he told TODAY.com. "We were all exhausted and dehydrated, but it was very evident that this guy wasn't going to give up. He was still in it, heart, mind and soul. That guy (who collapsed) was committed to achieving a personal best and he did it. He was a true marathoner." 

Jim, a 53-year-old Texas resident who was running the Boston Marathon for the first time, asked TODAY.com to use only his first name because, he said, it was a team effort. The group was about 100 yards from the finish line when they assisted the ailing runner. 

"There were few words spoken,'' Jim said. "We agreed that we were gonna stand him up and let him walk across the finish line. They were making a big deal out of it, but I was like, 'It was just what you're supposed to do.'

"Out of the whole thing, the one moment that meant the most, was when we walked across the finish line. The young lady that was helping, I didn't even know she was standing there until she turned and looked at me. We just smiled at each other, turned and put our hands on each other's shoulders and didn't say a word. It was a pretty awesome moment." 

He has run 10 marathons, but nothing could compare to Monday's event. 

"It was unbelievable,'' he said. "There's no way you can describe the energy. It was a 26.2-mile parade route. If you can imagine a stadium or an arena with the fans screaming at the loudest of any point in time in any professional event, it was like that the entire route." 

With reporting from TODAY.com's Scott Stump. 



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