An inspiring video of an Army veteran carrying a woman across the finish line of the Boston Marathon went viral this week. The video was captured in the final minutes of the 2017 race and features Earl Granville and his friend and marathon guide Andi Piscopo.
While the imagery might not seem unique at first glance, it’s the story behind Granville’s run that makes the difference. The 33-year-old Scranton, Pennsylvania resident lost his left leg in 2008 after his vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. This trauma, along with a few other tragedies he suffered make his crossing the finish line an inspiration and an accomplishment.
10. Army Veteran Loses His Leg
Earl Granville was on patrol in Afghanistan in 2008 when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb. He lost his left leg and two of his comrades, Spc. Derek Holland and Maj. Scott Hagerty. For his service, Granville earned the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman Badge. But his journey through tragedy was just beginning.
9. Granville’s Twin Commits Suicide
Two and a half years after Granville lost his leg in battle, his twin brother took his life. Granville’s brother also served in the army. He recalled, “My downward spiral happened after that. A lot of hardships I faced, a lot of things I was doing. It was just very unhealthy choices I was making.”
8. Veterans And Suicide
The issue of veterans like Granville’s twin brother committing suicide is unfortunately common. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, roughly 22 veterans die by suicide per day. The statistics are heartbreaking, especially for the 33-year-old. But despite the odds and the tragic way his brother died, Granville persevered.
7. Turning His Life Around
To dig himself out of depression, Granville picked up an active lifestyle. He started running and training to compete in marathons. To start his marathon life, the veteran decided to use a hand-bike. Granville competed in marathons in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and New York. This year was Granville’s fourth Boston Marathon.
6. Finishing With Other Trauma Survivors
Being a survivor is part of who Granville is. Last year, while using his hand-bike, the Army veteran finished just ahead of Boston Marathon bombing survivor Marc Fucarile. Fucarile lost one of his legs during the 2013 bombing and suffered burns on 90 percent of his lower body. But, like the Army veteran, Fucarile didn’t let his injuries keep him from competition.
5. Competing Together In 2017
While Fucarile again chose to compete in the men’s handcycle race, Granville decided this was the year to run. Piscopo trained with the Army veteran in the months leading up to the marathon. During the actual race, she served as his guide, counting steps and setting the pace. She also kept track of his medical needs to make sure he stopped the race if it was necessary.
4. 2017 Boston Marathon Run
This team of two was made possible thanks to a non-profit organization called the Achilles Freedom Team. The organization pairs guide runners like Piscopo with athletes who have disabilities, including Granville. The teams of two work together to successfully run marathons in Boston and around the country. Piscopo and Granville ran the Boston race accompanied by an American flag.
3. Encouragement During The Race
Granville and Piscopo frequently received encouragement from bystanders during the marathon. The bystanders came up to the Army veteran at several times throughout the race to give him hugs and to thank him. Granville stated in a Facebook Live broadcast at mile 16, “I don’t know what they’re inspired about. I’m walking.”
2. When You Finish A Race With Style
There’s no argument that Granville and Piscopo finished the 2017 Boston Marathon with style. Piscopo recalled that “it was a spur of the moment kind of thing” to have the Army veteran carry her across the line. Footage showed the Army veteran holding Piscopo over his shoulders while she kept a tight grip on the American flag.
1. An Inspiration To Others
While Earl Granville might not see himself as an inspiration, Andi Piscopo and millions of others believe that he is. Andi recalled, “To see him accomplish his goals, it makes me want to do more. He inspires me to be a better person.” Considering that more than seven million people have seen the viral video, it looks like Granville is encouraging many others to do the same.
Earl Granville’s spur-of-the-moment decision to carry his running partner across the finish line struck a chord in the hearts of those who watched. Andi Piscopo certainly didn’t need the help, but the moment was an inspiring celebration of the Army veteran’s accomplishment. Granville noted that his goal for the marathon was “six-and-a-half to seven hours.”
It seems that not only did he complete his goal, Granville did it with style.
How were you inspired by the video of Granville carrying his running partner over the finish line of the Boston Marathon? Tell us in the comments below!