The Army captain shown in a viral video of her 12-mile test march said she was "five feet from failure" when her fellow soldiers cheered her on.
"When I fell the second time and could look up and see the finish line, that was really good motivation to get up," Capt. Sarah Cudd, 29, told ABC News.
The video shows Cudd of the U.S. Army Public Health Command, one of 46 candidates who earned their Expert Field Medical Badge after passing rigorous tests for Army medical professionals. The initial field had 239 contenders, a spokeswoman for the Public Health Command told ABC News.
Nearly 1.3 million people have viewed the video that was shared on Facebook April 28.
The video was taken April 27 at Fort Dix in New Jersey, according to the description written by fellow soldier Capt. Lloyd Mason. As part of the last test to earn the badge, candidates had to complete the 12-mile trek in three hours carrying a 35-pound rucksack and 5-pound weapon.
Cudd of Tomball, Texas, who has been in the Army for five years, explained to ABC News that in the last minute of the march she was "super exhausted and having trouble standing up straight."
"I was thinking about the 10 days of training I'd gone through and how hard we'd all worked to get here and thinking about going home to see my husband," Cudd said. "That combined with all the encouragement I was getting from my friends and cadre was what got me up and over the finish line."
After stumbling just yards away from the finish line, her colleagues cheered her on until she completed the test under two hours and 47 minutes. Of the 46 who earned the badge that day, there were 14 women.
"Relief was the only thing I felt after I was done," she said. "Relief and gratitude to all those who were supporting me and willing me to the finish line."
Now, Cudd works at the veterinary treatment facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, east of Dayton, Ohio, according to the Public Health Command spokeswoman.
Cudd said she was surprised by the viral attention that the video has received.
"To me at the end of the ruck march I was about five feet from failure and I was just grateful to get over the finish line and earn the badge," Cudd said. "To everyone else, the march was a huge success and an inspiration to many.
“I am honored and frankly humbled to be able to inspire others and proud to be serving my country to the best of my ability."