GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - One year after the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon, several South Mississippi runners will be heading back there as a show of solidarity and resilience.
Joshua Ord was at Gulfport- Biloxi International Airport just before sunrise Saturday to make sure he didn't miss his flight. The Ocean Springs resident was preparing to head north to run in Monday's marathon.
"The nerves are definitely there because you want to perform at the peak ability."
Ord said getting to the finish line is half the battle. Last year after finishing the race and returning to his Boston hotel room, tragedy struck.
"The hotel was right by the finish line and really it sounds like fireworks," said Ord.
Those 'fireworks' were actually twin bombs exploding. Three people were killed, and 250 were injured.
"It wasn't until the second blast that we heard it. We went to the window and we could see the smoke rising and the people scattering on the ground. I was in a state of shock. It didn't set in until 20 to 30 minutes after that the bomb went off and exactly what happened," Ord said about the bombing.
Although last year's race was cut short due to the senseless attacks, Ord wanted to return to honor the victims and take part in his favorite sport. His parents will also be in Boston to show their support.
"There are nerves when you want to perform your best at the race, and there are also nerves wondering if anything is going to happen to your family and love ones out there," Ord said.
Ord is one of 36,000 runners from all across the world who will participate on the anniversary of the attacks. Ord said Boston still stands as one.
"Boston Strong just really means staying united together no matter what you try throwing at us. We are going to stand strong, and we are going to stand united together no matter what."
Inspiring words he'll remember all the way to the finish line. This is Ord's third time participating in the Boston Marathon. Ord said he and several other runners from across the coast helped raised 10,000 last year for the Boston One Fund.