The Merriam-Webster definition of hero is “a person who is admired greatly for great or brave acts or fine qualities.” Carlos Arredondo embodies each of those attributes and runners preparing for Monday’s Boston Marathon acknowledge him as such. 

“It’s tough to be called a hero,” Arredondo said. “I’m not used to this, but I do the best I can.”

Last year, Arredondo was just handing out American flags near the Boston Marathon finish line. Then the bombs went off. Instead of running away, Arredondo ran towards the runners on the course. He lifted Jeff Bauman into a wheelchair and made sure he was safe. 

Associated Press photographer Charles Krupa captured the photograph that elevated Arredondo’s status in society from a mere bystander to a warrior of courage. 

On Saturday afternoon, Arredondo was on Boylston Street after the Tribute Run, honoring the victims and survivors of last year’s bombings. Dozens of runners would stop to talk with Arredondo and thank him for his bravery last year. 

"Who are you running for?" is the question he would ask everyone. 

Whether it was Hong Kong, Philadelphia or any of the cities in Massachusetts, Arredondo would respond with “You’re running for everyone. Thank you and good luck.”

Arredondo spoke to Flotrack about the emotions in the year after the tragedy and what it means to return to Boston.