BOSTON - The Boston Marathon may be over, but five finishers are getting attention for actions that were captured in one simple snapshot.
The picture shows runners helping their competitor toward the finish line. Captured in the image was Stillwater's Michael Johnson.
"I came up and he had no ability to keep himself up at all. He was literally hanging on the people that were holding him up," Johnson said via a Skype interview Tuesday.
"His legs fully gave out and they were wobbling."
So together, four people carried the runner who struggled to stand.
Johnson says his legs were cramping and his feet blistered. The other runners were also in pain, but that didn't matter. And they weren't concerned about damaging their finish time.
"It was amazing. Someone would go down and there would be people there to help," Johnson said. "It was an awesome spirit."
Johnson said when the group was about 300 feet from the finish line, the crowd exploded.
"The crowd went crazy. It was just an uproar," Johnson said. "It was amazing."
Those cheers captured the attention of Wesley Lowery, the Washington Post reporter who snapped the photos on his phone. Lowery said seeing the competitors show compassion made him cry.
"I think that often, those of us that work in media get very cynical. I always see a lot of the worst in people. We see a lot of people at their worst," he said. "This was just one of those moments that encapsulated the good that comes from sports. The good that comes from competition. The good of other human beings."
Good triumphed, but before Johnson and the runners who gave up their competitive edge crossed the finish line, there was a surprise from the man they were all helping.
"I thought we were going to stop and readjust and he goes let me go. I'd like to get up now," Johnson said. "I asked Adam how he was doing. He said, 'I am doing OK, but I really want to finish. Thanks for helping out.'"
And at that moment, they all finished the race individually. But the runner didn't make it to the finish line alone. He had help from people who didn't mind making a sacrifice.