Hard to believe it's been 1 year since the deadly Boston Marathon bombings shook that city and the country to its core.
And on Tuesday, the victims were honored.
Ryan Polly, of Williston, VT, laces up his sneakers Tuesday afternoon, remembering where he was at this moment 1 year ago.
“Throughout the run I was super excited,” said Ryan Polly. “I mean, suddenly here I am in arguably the best marathon, greatest marathon, historic marathon and I'm there!"
He was 25.6 miles in, had one mile to go, then chaos.
“I was running and suddenly there was just a stopping of people. For me, my first thought was where is my family? Because my partner and our then 1-year old was waiting, supposedly, at the finish line so I was just in mass panic mode at that time,” said Ryan Polly.
His family was safe that day and Ryan became one of 5,700 runners who never got the chance to cross the finish line.
“It was really hard because they honored us and said 'you finished' but it didn't feel like my journey was complete," said Polly.
A year later, Ryan is still running. On a rainy day on Lake Champlain in Burlington, on the anniversary of the bombings, he organized a memorial run.
“Taking that small moment in our busy days to think about what happened, honor those people that can't run or that were injured or that died tragically and to carry them with us as we move into Monday,” explained Ryan Polly.
All his fellow runners told FOX44/ABC22 News the same thing, that they are hitting the pavement on Monday in Boston not necessarily for themselves, but as a tribute to survival and to strength.
“To actually get to Boylston St. and get to the finish line, I'm getting goose bumps right now, it's phenomenal,” said Jess Cover.
“It's all for that 1 day where you put your body through the ultimate test and the glory of finishing it and to have that taken away is unimaginable,” explained Raysa Ortega.
This time though, they will all finish the race.
Ryan Polly made quite the difference this past year.
He organized efforts that raised $17,000 for the "One Fund" that benefits victims and their families.
He also helped lead a successful petition the caused the Boston Athletics Association to formally invite back the runners who were halted last year.