Published: Apr 15, 2014 5:03 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 15, 2014 6:37 PM EDT

NAPLES, Fla. - For Alma McDermott, running in this year's Boston Marathon was never an option.  The woman from New York City, married to a 20-time Boston Marathon veteran, says last year's attack hit too close to home to be ignored this year.  That's why she's joining the race to honor the victims, survivors, and heroes of that day.

"When I was watching last year... and I saw that bomb go off and the runner fall down, it all just immediately brought back every single terror of what happened on 9/11," McDermott told WINK News anchor Cayle Thompson.

The chaos that followed reminded McDermott of the hours and days after the attack on the World Trade Center, when she couldn't find her best friend, Steve Lauria.

"I was on the phone, frantic and trying to call for missing persons information, trying to call to find my friend, who was like my brother," McDermott recalled.  "What happened in Boston just reopened all those old wounds again."

It won't be McDermott's first time in the marathon, scheduled for next Monday.  She ran in 2004 to honor the friend she lost in 2001.  McDermott came to Naples from Boston, where she lived with her husband, Mac.  Together, they ran and helped train hundreds of people for the marathon.  Mac completed his first in 1979.

The connection to two terrorist attacks in the span of 12 years makes the need to participate in the healing all the more important for both.  Mac can no longer run the marathon, so his wife is doing it for them both.

"I have to do this," Alma McDermott said. "God forbid I have to crawl, but I'll do it.  I want to reach the finish line. I don't care how long it takes me."