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Navy veteran from Roanoke finishes Boston Marathon in spite of difficulties

Published On: Apr 23 2014 10:24:22 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 23 2014 10:56:14 PM EDT

A Roanoke man will forever remember this year's Boston Marathon.

Bill Foreman was so moved by an article about last year's bombings in Boston, that he felt compelled to drive all night, just to walk across the finish line.

"Just to glorify God I decided to do something spectacular,” Foreman said.

With that in mind, Bill Foreman, a Navy veteran, got in his car after church on Sunday and drove 12 hours to Boston.

"They said they'd let me in at the end of the race, so I got up there at 7 o'clock, race didn't start until 10,” he said. “I started at 11:30, I was the only volunteer up there and so I finished at 11 at night.”

Race officials designated Foreman as a volunteer and allowed him to participate; only after all registered runners were well on their way. Foreman says his reasons for doing this are simple.

"Patriotism, respect for Boston and what happened and show that there's a lot of good sides in the world,” he said.

A spread in Sports Illustrated showing the emotion of last year's tragedy moved Foreman to action.

"When I read the article, stayed up all night and read the article, I said, I can do this. My brothers and sisters thought I was crazy.”

Crazy or not, Foreman pushed himself to the finish line even with a bad knee and hip replacement surgery just weeks away. But he says he received some special help along the way.

"I had a guardian angel from Canada, these two couples that took me the last three blocks to the finish line." he said.

What Foreman saw Monday moved him to tears.

"Every age group, to every race group, to every religious group you could think of. And they were there to have fun and support the town of Boston.”

But what moved him the most was what he proved to himself.

Through tears, he said “I did it and I finished it."

Foreman says all the exercise and walking he's doing in preparation for his hip replacement made it easier for him to walk 26.2 miles.