BOSTON - A year after a terrorist attack killed three people and injured 260 at the Boston Marathon - thousands of runners proved they were 'Boston Strong', crossing the finish line Monday in an act of physical triumph and symbolic renewal. Among them: a Bryan woman who completed her 19th marathon, returning to Boston after last year's tragedy when two home-made pressure cooker bombs in backpacks exploded yards from the finish line.
Runner Lan Ly poses with family members after completing the 2014 Boston Marathon. Ly says she looks to her family for inspiration while running. This is Ly's 19th marathon - and her 5th Boston marathon.
Lan Ly had just finished her fourth Boston marathon a little more than an hour earlier, and was in her hotel a few blocks away when the first detonations occurred. She says she first learned of the tragedy from friends asking via text message if she was ok.
Since that time, Ly has not given up on her passion of running, and has spent hours training to return and repeat her performance of the year before.
Ly finished the 2014 race with pride, motivated by the sheer scale of support from the spectators and everyone else involved: "They were so loud, and so supportive... They were screaming at the top of their lungs so hard you could barely hear yourself think... It was amazing to be a part of."
"It's my mental getaway," said Ly, in regards to her motivation to keep running. "It's my way to think about the day, and race-wise it's a way to show my family and my son that I'm more than just a mom, or someone who works; she's also someone who gets out there and races and pushes herself to the point of uncomfortable-ness sometimes, and I'm good for that, I'm better for that."
"Although it was very sad - the events that happened were very, very sad - it actually feels good. I think these events sort of had the opposite effect that the terrorists wanted to happen. They've brought the running community and the community of Boston that much more together and you saw it out on the race course today," said Ly.
Lan Ly says she ran the marathon in three hours and 34 minutes - not her best time, but still one to be proud of. Monday night she added she'd be resting and understandably very sore, but glad she made the trip.
"It was amazing to be a part of... I'm very, very proud of it and very lucky as well."