Runners across the Grand Strand hit the streets this morning for the fourth annual Myrtle Beach Mini-Marathon, including U.S. Marine Corps veteran Drew Sharpe.
"When it got really hard I was just thinking about, you know, guys that come out and do this with you know one leg or in wheelchairs you know how much it would mean to them to be able to do this like I'm doing now," Sharpe said.
Sharpe ran the entire race with a 40-pound pack on his back and a Marine Corps flag in his hand to honor his friend, Staff Sergeant Allan K Walker who died in 2004, killed while serving in Afghanistan.
Sharpe carried Walker's photograph in his pack every step of the race.
Although he did the race on his own, he was never alone.
All along the course, he was surrounded by crowds cheering him on, yelling "hurrah" and "thank you for your service."
"It was overwhelming. by the time I hit mile 4 or 5, I mean, people were shouting, everybody was cheering. I had tears rolling down my cheeks."
The 13.1 mile race kicked off at 7 a.m. and had around 3,500 people participating.
The race started at Coastal Grand Mall and ended at Plyler Park. The new 2013 course featured over five miles of oceanfront running.
The race will be held again next year October 19, 2014.