West Hartford's John Williams was runnning the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off.
John Williams never considered himself a runner. That was before he ran last year's Boston Marathon.
"Some of my family members were right there," Williams said.
Last year, his family was waiting for him near the finish line. The two bombs detonated before he could finish the race.
At the time, Williams, who lives in West Hartford, was on Mile 25. He remembers police stopping him, causing confusion for fellow runners and spectators.
"And all of a sudden you heard sirens in every direction," Williams said. "I've never heard that many."
Amid the chaos, Williams' thoughts turned to his family.
"I'm just walking around in a circle saying, 'Oh my God, what could've happened to my family?"
Williams used the phone of a marathon spectator to send his family a message. He said it was the hardest text he's ever sent. He received a text back from his family a few minutes later to let him know they were safe and in a parking garage in Boston.
Williams' family will be back at the finish line for this year's marathon.
"I'm just excited to see him cross it," said Williams' son, John Williams III. "I know it's something that's meant so much to him for so long and to have to wait an extra year will make it that much sweeter."
This time, Williams will run the Boston Marathon after raising money for Chase Kowalski's CMAK Foundation. Chase Kowalski was one of the 6-year-old victims from the Sandy Hook shootings.
Williams spent the past few months training for Monday's race. He says those long morning runs gave him time to reflect on those things that have led him back to Boston.
"I remember that little boy that died in Boston, and then I remember President Obama saying 'In scripture, you have to run the race,'" said Williams. "So I'm going to run the race. Because that's how you get through it. That's how you get through life. That's how everyone will, whether it's Sandy Hook, whether it's Boston. That's how you do it."