DAYTON, TN (WRCB) -
If terrorists thought the Boston Marathon bombing would keep people away, they are wrong. 9,000 more people will run this year's race compared to last year. Tuesday marks one year since two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston marathon killing three and injuring more than 260.
A local runner was there when chaos broke out last year and is returning to that very spot next week as she races to the finish line. Rhea County's Trish Newsom says it's thanks to the support of her local community, she's ready to prove she's "Boston strong".
Dayton City School P.E. teacher Trish Newsom has been training all year to return to Boston stronger than ever. She's ready to join 36,000 athletes on a 26-mile mission to show their resilience one year after the terrifying-- and for many life altering, bombings.
"Of course the security is going to be tight. It's going to be the safest city in the nation and I think it's going to be the happiest city in the nation too because we are going to run and show that we are not going to be stopped," Trish Newsom said.
Trish returned to the Chattanooga Airport last year shaken after hearing, feeling, then seeing the smoke from the blasts as emergency responders rushed to help hundreds of injured racers. She had just crossed the finish line minutes earlier in a time that earned her spot this year.
"The beauty from last year's ashes at the marathon is I qualified to run this year as a qualified runner," Trish said.
Her community is helping her reach that 15-year goal by holding fundraisers to pay her entry fee.
"I don't know if I can really put words to it because it's just a very special time," she said.
During the most recent fundraising 5k, she got a taste of what it's like to run while pushing someone in a wheelchair, like her charity teammates. They're an inspiring father-son duo from Boston. Their motto has long been "Yes You Can."
Dick Hoyt, now in his 70's, has pushed his son rick who's confined to a wheelchair, to the finish line for 31 Boston Marathons. They'd plan for last year to be their final race, but in honor of those injured, they're running one more time.
"For this to be the first year I'm running as a qualified runner, and it be the year after the bombings and it be Rick and Dick's last year. It couldn't be any better. God designed it that way," she said.
Trish hopes this marathon will help America heal from last year's tragedy and mark it with a new sense of pride.
"The fact that the bombings happened last year, we're not going to let it overshadow this year," Trish said.
The 2014 Boston Marathon is on April 21st. For the first time, you can track individual runners during their journey to the finish line by text if you know their bib number.