In just three days, tens of thousands of runners will take to the streets of Boston for this year's Boston Marathon.
They are Boston Strong, running together despite last year's twin explosions that rocked that city, killing three people and injuring 275 others.
A local mother is among those gearing up for the big race, refusing to let what happened last year deter her. But it will impact who is coming to cheer her on.
Jennifer Wood has been pounding the pavement for months, getting into marathon shape for the biggest race of her life. "When you cross that finish line, that feeling along, you forget about everything else," she said. "Everything you went through, it makes everything worth it."
Jennifer picked up running 12 years ago to stay in shape. For this East Syracuse mother, running is her peace. "It's my time for myself and I'm doing something good. I'm a better mom, I'm a better wife, I'm happier. It keeps me fit. It's my guilty pleasure, she said.
That guilty pleasure turned into a passion and a drive to keep pushing. Stride after stride, she kept going, qualifying for this year's Boston Marathon. "For me, it's just that sense of pride and being able to watch what she's accomplished first hand," her husband Aaron Wood said.
Her husband has always by her side. He will be cheering her on from the sidelines. But her biggest cheerleaders are her two children, 4-year-old Avery and 6-year-old Madison. "Aaron's always got them out there and their signs and they're jumping up and down. Madison, my 6-year-old, already made a sign for me, Go Mommy Go," Jennifer said.
But she will be going without her little cheerleaders. Instead she will bring just her husband as support. "I was planning on taking the kids, my parents, my husband, the neighborhood. Everybody was coming," Jennifer said.
It all changed for Jennifer and her family when the bombs exploded at the finish line of last year's marathon. They were watching in horror and quickly decided to leave their little ones at home.
"After that happened I had to rethink who was coming with me," Jennifer said. "I'm ok proving a point for myself. I'll get out there and do it, but I just wasn't comfortable bringing the kids and putting them in that atmosphere." "Do we think we'll be safe, yes," her husband Aaron said. "So if there's a 1 percent chance something could happen, it just made sense to keep them home."
The bombings didn't deter Jennifer from lacing up her sneakers and taking on Boston. She will be focused on the run and nothing else. "The other things I can't control, so there's no sense in worrying about it and I think this year will be the safest it's ever been," Jennifer said. "Being at the Boston Marathon is probably the safest place you can be Monday morning."
This will be Jennifer's 5th marathon. She says she is not only running for herself but also for those who were injured or killed and never got the chance to finish last year's race.
We hope you will join us Monday for our special coverage of the Boston Marathon. CNYCentral anchor Megan Coleman will be in Boston. We will have live reports with local runners throughout the day starting on Today in Central New York.