Maickel Melamed /

The Power of the Human Heart  

Chicago Marathon 2013  /  Tokyo Marathon 2014  /  Boston Marathon 2015 

Maickel Melamed is a Peace advocate, Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations in Venezuela, founder of “Somos Posible” (“We are Possible”), “Proyecto Vamos” (Project Let’s Go), a platform for people to gather support and community along the way in their pursuit of their dreams, and “Paz con Todo” (“Full Peace”), a project to move people to perform acts of peace in their everyday lives that have the potential to lead humanity into new possibilities of peace.


Maickel’s journey has been one of many struggles and challenges. He was born in Caracas, Venezuela with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, which deprived him of oxygen and the damage to his nervous system led doctors to eventually diagnose him with myopathy (a rare muscular disorder).  He was not supposed to live a week, he was not supposed to live a month, he was not supposed to walk, he was not supposed to talk.  He was not supposed to climb a mountain, yet he summited Pico Bolivar, the tallest mountain in the Venezuelan Andes.  He was not supposed to do so many things, but he has done them all and turned every no into a yes, into a journey through the self into the world.


Maickel has found his personal challenge to be the medium that carries his message loud and clear. He has made it a priority to live his dreams, to inspire others to pursuit their dreams and to awaken our golden hearts to a world full of possibility, love, and peace. His purpose in life is to “help others to be better than they think they can be.”


Maickel's transformation of his suffering into one of this greatest strengths has inspired thousands of people. He often says he came to a point in his life where it was clear to him he had to make a choice: he could continue to be and feel different, separate, alone or he could become a curiosity and follow his heart and offer it to the world.


He chose how to be in the world by connecting with the world rather than be separate from it.  He chose to create community, to inspire, to be the change, to be a movement, a force.  He chose to be a part of the world’s shift towards creating peace, both personal and global.


Maickel set himself to do what seems impossible: to complete 5 world Marathons.  To inspire people to make their dreams happen, to go through their limited beliefs and find their own voice of truth for the betterment of humanity, for their personal happiness, for inner peace and world peace.  He dove into his shadow, into the depth of his despair and found his heart beat.  Maickel found his intention, has committed to paying attention by brining awareness and presence to everything he does, has chosen to dedicate himself to life, and has made of his life a prayer for peace.


Maickel run his first World Marathon in New York in 2012, he than run the Berlin Marathon in 2013, the Chicago Marathon in 2013, the Tokyo Marathon in 2014, and next week: Monday April 20th, 2015— he will be running BOSTON.


So I ask you, the question and the inspiration that Maickel has brought into my life, how do we become? How do we choose to be in the world? How do we become our own prayer for peace?



You can follow Maickel on

Instagram @@maickelmelamed and @proyecto_vamos

Facebook @Maickel Melamed and Proyecto Vamos

Twitter @maickelmelamed and @ProyectoVamos


Chicago Marathon 2013

The Power of the Human Heart


Maickel Melamed run his third World Marathon in Chicago.  For the full article please visit

Tokyo Marathon 2014

The Weight of a Broken Heart.

With a broken heart we set our intention to pursue once more, what so many deemed impossible: another World Marathon.  But within the word itself - impossible- lays the seed to all possibility.  We knew the weight of our broken hearts in our physical bodies, we just didn't know how heavily our hearts weighted our spirits down.  We were in Tokyo, days after a peaceful student protest in Venezuela had turned violent.  We were in Tokyo as a team to support Maickel Melamed run the Tokyo Marathon, his fourth world Marathon.  I was there to photograph him, to document his journey, but unlike other Marathons, this one, had the weight of a country, our country Venezuela- in complete and total despair, tearing our hearts. 


Maickel’s story and humanitarian message of peace, of making your dreams happen, of building a better world where our children can be safe, and have the possibility of a bright future, of an education, of personal safety, a future where the awareness and understanding that by working together we reap far more benefits than egotistically and egoistically working for self benefit alone, is one that echoes deep within, and one that I offer to be a part of. 


Tokyo was an experience of logistic and strategy, of mind versus heart, of passionate beings coming together for the benefit of all, of articulate varied perspectives seeking one voice.  Tokyo was a journey to find words to this voice of hope and peace in the midst of turmoil, complete chaos and death.  It is not easy being far, when your heart’s desire is to be with your family and with loved ones in such circumstances. 


I arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday February 19th, with a tangled heart and ready to be of service,  but never imagined such complex storyline.  The days prior to the Marathon were filled with logistic about how to inspire a message for peace, for hope for Venezuelans.  We all had high hopes, we all tried and found that unified voice.  Maickel is the messenger, and we are the team that stands behind him.  With each day getting closer to the Marathon, new and unexpected challenges arose, all to do with the increasing tension and increasing number of missing persons and deaths at the demonstrations in Venezuela.  With each passing day, we felt the wear and tear of our hearts synch in a little more deeply into our souls.  But we had made a resolution to run the Marathon, with a message of peace and to never give up.  We still held on to the message Maickel gave at the Chicago Marathon that travelled the globe.


The day started cold, and with a light hail of snow.  We joined the runners at the starting line, some of whom recognized Maickel from Chicago, some who were curious about him, pictures were taken, and encouraging words exchanged.  The time had come.  It was time to begin the journey.


In the mad chaos of those first few minutes of the start of a Marathon, while everyone finds their speed, their groove, their pace and place, we felt the nervous excitement of a big day ahead.  We found our speed, our groove, our pace and soon enough we found our place, away from everyone else.  There is great power in starting with a large group of people pursuing a common goal, there is great energy that gives us adrenaline, empowerment, hope and feeds our energy into the field of possibility.  Because of Maickel’s condition within half an hour or so of the staring line, we were the last of the marathoners, but we were engaged in a race of mind over matter.  Maickel had been training for Tokyo, ever since his return to Venezuela, a few days after finishing the Chicago Marathon. His will to go beyond the limits of his body in the pursuit of a goal that will be of inspiration to thousands is the wood that feeds his inner fire.  There is also great power at that moment of separation between the pack and the sole runner, when we loose the pack, when we are faced with the reality that we are alone in our pursuit of inspiration, we are forced to become ever so present to our purpose and our will to make it happen.  


Within the hour we were followed by the Marathon officials, and the bus that picks up those who are unable to finish the Marathon.  I thought it was quite something, that Maickel was leading them, the city was paralyzed  and unable to do as they intended, because Maickel was running ahead.  After some time we were asked to move to the side walk.  We would not be able to qualify for the Marathon, that, we knew, but in some cities they have allowed Maickel and his team to remain on the road, something that is easier on Maickel, and in other cities we were asked to move along to the sidewalks, the obstacle course of inclination, stoping at every light, and busyness that would slow anyone down.


As the hours passed and the city scape changed, constant reminders of the situation in Venezuela were heard and felt.  As the hours passed the level of exhaustion grew more and more, Maickel was doing well, with a steady pace of 3 km per hour, then he began to slow down, the city scape became a monotonous background, and as a team we began to feel the weight of his broken heart.  His patriotic love for Venezuela, for its people has always been at the front of his message and at the core of the social work SOMOS POSSIBLE does in Venezuela.  Maickel began to slow down, his stamina began to fade, his body began to feel cold often, he lost the rhythm to his step.  We had covered 31.6 km in 14 1/2 hours, but only doing 600m in the last hour.  We knew in our minds that time was beginning to run away from us.  That at his level of exhaustion it would take many more hours to complete the remaining 10.4km.  We knew that the last two Km were the toughest, we knew that in this particular Marathon there were a lot of uphills on those last few Km.  We also knew that he just couldn't do it.  It wasn't just that he couldn't do it, it would have been extremely difficult for anyone, under those circumstances, to complete the Marathon.  But we didn't want to accept it.  We couldn't face it.  I guess there comes a point in every athletes carrier were it is wise to retreat and retry, and not push the risk of injury or health in the pursuit of a goal.  But how do you know when you have reached that place?  How do you know that you are making the right decision? How do you face stopping without having the feeling of giving up? I don't believe that Maickel ever gave up, I believe he just couldn't push his body anymore, he had reached the far limits of his body, but it took a while for all of our minds to accept it.


And perhaps it wasn't only because we couldn't get to the finish line, for me personally it was more of the fact that we were not able to deliver the message of hope, of solidarity, of peace, of consciousness about the social condition that is being lived in Venezuela.  That is why we chose to do the Marathon, that is why we couldn't accept stopping.  But we had to stop.  We had to stop and choose to say yes to life and say no to finishing the Marathon.  We had to stop and choose to see the wide perspective of our lives purpose and our individual journeys rather than the narrow perspective of our purpose in Tokyo that night.  We had to accept the lessons in this journey with a different ending than what we expected.  We had to embrace our hearts and our determination, we had to let our tears roll, and trust that we did everything we could have possibly done that day and on that night.  We gave it all.


It is a very different feeling in ones heart to finish and accomplish a Marathon, vs being knocked down and getting back up, and realizing we just didn't have it with us on that day.  The learnings and the lessons of this journey have been so embedded with love for people in the pursuit of freedom, that the thought of what happened on that cold lonesome night in the empty streets of Tokyo, seems but a dream. 


I guess we must begin with ourselves, with a deep commitment to the development of our awareness and to the development of our consciousness to move from the place where life benefits the ego to a place where life benefits human kind. It begins with the shift in the very essence of our being that promotes the respect and value of the human life and the power of awareness of having the wellness of the human being, first. If one cannot see the value and respect in the life of another, then, violence will spread like a cancerous disease killing our souls. But if we are able to look into another and recognize the divinity and the miracle of their life, than we can build a better world.  We can work together to co-exist with one another, because peace is not about the domination of one another, but rather about our coexistence. 


Boston Marathon 2015

How would you move, if you dedicated your life to humanity, to peace, to become more than you can possible fathom? How would you move? How would you act? How would you be in the world?   

To read the full articles please visit


(Part I/II)-!Maickel-Melamed-will-be-running-the-Boston-Marathon-The-question-is-not-who-really-but-how-do-we-choose-to-be-in-the-world-Part-III/cfx4/552c60f90cf2aa1811a71fe1


(Part II/II) -!Maickel-Melamed-runs-the-Boston-Marathon-his-fifth-World-Marathon-with-a-time-of-20hr07min-part-IIII/cfx4/55391ee30cf2adc1ace250a2



  • Facebook
  • Instagram


Copyright © 2018 Natalie Howard.   All rights reserved.