Ashley Riter-Collins has wanted to compete in the Boston Marathon ever since she was a high school student competing in cross country.
This Monday, the 40-year-old third-grade teacher at Corral Drive Elementary School will fulfill her goal. Not only for herself, but to show solidarity with the runners who were affected by last year's tragic events.
"I just felt that as runners, we really need to come together and support each other," Riter-Collins said.
One year ago, two bombs exploded at the finish line of the marathon, killing three people and wounded 264 others. Despite what happened in 2013, she said she does not think she is in any danger this year.
Riter-Collins, who is one of a handful of Rapid City residents participating in the event, said she met people from Boston who visited South Dakota for the Leading Ladies Marathon in August and was inspired after hearing their stories.
"It was amazing to see and hear how quickly everyone pulled together after the attack," she said. "In some ways, it showed the best side of the human spirit."