It was a simple gesture that went a long way.

Ken E. Nwadike spread love and happiness during this year’s Boston Marathon by offering free hugs to runners.

According to the video he posted on YouTube, Nwadike failed to qualify for the marathon by only 23 seconds but still decided that, in the wake of last year’s bombings, he would still attend.

Nwadike is no stranger to marathons — he’s the Race Director of the Hollywood Half Marathon, which is billed as a “Run with the Stars.”

“The response that I received from runners when I arrived on course was unforgettable,” said Nwadike. “Considering the devastation of the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon, I knew it was important for me to spread love, hugs, and happiness.”

Not just one but several runners even turned back after passing Nwadike to get a free hug.

Watch the touching video above.

Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals