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Marine Who Lost Legs Inspires Many During 5K

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Cpl. Gabriel Martinez runs in the Anthem Turkey Day 5k-10k. (credit: CBS)

Cpl. Gabriel Martinez runs in the Anthem Turkey Day 5k-10k. (credit: CBS)

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – A Marine severely wounded in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving in 2010 inspired many at a 5K run in Broomfield during this year’s holiday.

Cpl. Gabriel Martinez lost both his legs to a roadside bomb and his recovery has been surprisingly fast. He’s now got two prosthetic legs and has skied, biked and even rock climbed. On Thursday he was out in the Colorado sun running along with both friends and strangers in the Anthem Turkey Day 5k-10k.

“My boys are still in Afghanistan. It was all about getting back in shape and just fighting the fight whether it’s here or in Afghanistan,” he said.

The injured Marine knows the blast could have killed him, but he was fortunate.

“I knew I was hit — I knew I was in the air, ears ringing. All I could see was dust. I just wanted to know if my Marines were okay,” he told CBS4 while making his way through the 5K route.

“A year ago I didn’t know if I was going to be alive,” he said.

Martinez says he’s relied on his toughness in his recovery. He’s got a tattoo that says “Tough Times Don’t Last But Tough Marines Do.”

“You can do anything you put your mind to, whether you’re missing a finger a leg or two legs,” he said.

PHOTO GALLERY: Colorado Troops In Afghanistan

Among those he has inspired since his return to Colorado last April is his mom Kay.

“I could be remembering that every day I lost my son on this day,” she told CBS4 on Thursday. “And instead I have so much to be thankful for. I’m counting all my blessings.”

Martinez was honored in a ceremony last April at the state Capitol. He said he plans to keep training and hopes to compete in a triathalon one day.

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