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For Richard Blalock, last year's Boston Marathon was a race of opportunity.

It was his chance to prove people wrong who said he would never be able to run again after losing his leg in 2009.

"For me, it was almost like running the impossible dream because I never really thought I'd be able to run it," Blalock said.

But, he was able to run the race.  After months of training, Blalock qualified for the race.  So, on April 15, 2013 Blalock and his two guides set out to conquer his dream.  The race began to prove to be anything but easy.  The runner started having leg cramps, that required him to slow down, running nearly 30 minute miles.

Then, around his 25th mile, the race of opportunity became the race of unknowns.

"It looked like a crowd, and I wasn't sure of what was going on," he said.

After stopping for nearly 30 minutes in the middle of the racetrack, Blalock knew the race had turned to tragedy.  He had less than one mile to go before crossing the finish line.

"As we approached, we were stopped, and then word started filtering out that there had been a bombing at the finish line," Blalock said.

There were two explosions that killed three and wounded more than 200. As the panic settled in on the crowd, Blalock knew he had to get in touch with his wife.  After many failed calls, he was able to send her a simple text message saying, "I'm OK."

But, in his mind, Blalock began questioning how something like this could happen to a race known for its community spirit.

"I couldn't really believe it. This day when it's such a wonderful day of celebration and so many people worked hard to get there that anything would stop that," he said.

Instead of letting anger control his actions, Blalock decided he was going to run again in this year's race to honor those who will never be able to cross the finish line.

"I wanted to do it on my terms," he said. "Not because something, and that's when I decided to come back and train hard and honor those who lost their lives."

Mile after mile, memory after memory continue to push and motivate Blalock to take this race of tragedy and turn it into a race of success.

"I can't imagine what it's going to be like coming down the finish line this year. Knowing what happened and where it happened,but we can do our best to honor those victims," he said.

The Boston Marathon is scheduled for Monday, April 21.

Photo Credit: Christian Carollo Shutterstock