Andrew Smith proudly shows off his Blue Ridge Marathon medal. It isn't the first time he has overcome a challenge. He has Asperger syndrome and has always striven to do his best.
In this case, his best meant crossing the finish line at three hours and 25 minutes; putting him in 23rd place overall and 3rd place in his age group, without even training for the marathon.
"I had no intention of winning or doing well. I was just going out for the Boston Marathon runners," Smith says.
Just last week, Smith gave a persuasive speech in his public speaking class at Virginia Western Community College to encourage his classmates to run a mile every day, even though he runs five. But when he got home and saw what happened in Boston, he signed up for the marathon.
"Since I said that last week it is not a matter of saying you are going to do something. It is a matter of doing. I decided to cross the finish line even if I had to crawl there," Smith says.
Even his professor Heather Torro-Derrick watched him cross the finish line. She says he is an inspiration to his class and others around him.
"Monday he came into class, he was wearing his medal. It was neat to see the ripple effect from this one little speech he had to give for a grade," Torro-Derrick says.
Torro-Derrick says Smith inspired his classmates to start running, and in some cases shed light on a dark and sad event miles away from Roanoke.
"He got them talking, and that is the most important thing. We talked about all of the things that happened in Boston and what can we do around here in community," Torro-Derrick says.