Marine answers mid-race plea, helps child cross finish line

CHARLEVOIX, Mich. — A photo that has gone viral this week shows an unlikely coupling at a race: a Marine in his gear and a young boy struggling to make it to the finish line.

Lance Cpl. Myles Kerr decided to run a 5k at the Venetian Festival in Charlevoix, Mich., in boots and his utility uniform while carrying a rucksack. According to a Facebook post on Seal of Honor, a page dedicated to the life of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, who died in Afghanistan in 2005, Kerr had not crossed the finish line several minutes after the other Marines had finished.

The Marines feared Kerr’s “extreme level of motivation” had led to injury or fatigue, causing him to drop out of the race, according to the post. Kerr’s fellow Marines were readying to run back through the course to find him when they saw him come around the last turn with a young boy.

The boy had become separated from his group, according to Seal of Honor.

“He asked Lcpl Kerr, ‘Sir? Will you please run with me?’” the post said. “Throughout the course, Lcpl Kerr urged him on when the boy wanted to give up and ensured that the boy saw the course to completion where he was reunited with his party.”

The photo had been liked more than 210,000 times as of Thursday afternoon and had been shared more than 47,000 times. Many of the nearly 10,000 comments on the post reflected the sentiment expressed by Seal of Honor’s description of Kerr’s character:

“By his unwavering commitment to help those in need through his ability to inspire others by his unequivocal level of motivation, Lcpl Kerr reflected great credit upon himself and was keeping in the highest traditions of the United States Marine Corps.”

Contact Stephanie Grimes at Follow @steph_grimes on Twitter.

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