TODAY   |  March 18, 2014

Natalie gets her Boston Marathon bib

As part of TODAY’s “Shine a Light” series, Natalie Morales is joined by the Corcoran family, still recovering from the horrific events at least year’s Boston Marathon, and talks about her marathon training alongside Carmen Acabbo, who'll be running the race she wasn’t able to finish last year.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> and we're back now with an update on "today's" "shine a light" campaign. natalie chose to focus on people still recovering from the horrific events at last year's boston marathon . one family in particular touched natalie 's heart. and she's been checking in with them over the last year.

>> 117 running at the boston marathon .

>> on april 15th last year, over 26,000 people crossed the starting line of the boston marathon . among them carmen who was hoping to complete her first marathon. like many, she wouldn't reach the finish line .

>> terror in boston .

>> there was a great deal of chaos. debris flying in their faces.

>> in the crowd at the finish line , carmen 's sister celeste , celeste 's daughter sidney , and husband kevin.

>> i have a vivid memory of seeing my daughter and friends being blown back. i think my wife took the brunt of the impact.

>> i was terrified my family was all gone.

>> not gone, but severely injured, celeste lost both of her legs in the carnage. her husband kevin applied a life-saving tourncate. the road to recovery for this family has not been easy, but they remain boston strong.

>> i believe if you kind of persevere and believe in yourself, you have to dig down deep inside and be like, i can do this.

>> reporter: this has been a year of new beginnings. a high school prom.

>> it feels really good to see everyone.

>> and graduation.

>> sidney --

>> celeste received new legs courtesy of the challenged athletes foundation. she started running herself and is back behind the wheel.

>> right foot pushes down.

>> yeah.

>> and the stylist has even gotten the scissors back in her hand.

>> i'm honored.

>> they have done so much in the last year to get their lives back together again. they've shown us their strength, their resilience, their courage.

>> now, along with carmen , together will take the next step.

>> i'm making it my goal to run the boston marathon . they've shown us not only how to be boston strong but america strong.

>> natalie 's been doing a lot of training, and as a matter of fact, she is out here close to the plaza. natalie , where are you?

>> hey, i'm right up the street, matt, on 49th, and i'm here with carmen , who you saw there in that piece. i've been following their journey. this is the race, carmen , you couldn't finish last year. this time is your year. how are you feeling about it?

>> feeling great.

>> training is going well?

>> going great. i'm ready.

>> and of course, at the finish line will be your sister celeste and sidney her daughter, your niece.

>> hi! nice to see you.

>> pleasure.

>> so exciting to see you here. how are you feeling, celeste ? you look amazing.

>> thank you, i'm feeling fantastic.

>> you had a great recovery. seems like you're doing really well emotionally, physically, even standing on these great legs of yours. are you ready to be there at the finish line ?

>> i don't know about that. yes, i'm ready to be there, but it's going to be very, very emotional. and, you know, there's been ups and downs . lately more ups than downs. so i think we're headed in the right direction. and this is going to be a positive reclaiming of a space that was taken away from us. something that was taken away from us. we need to reclaim this.

>> yeah. i won't say what david ortiz said. but i know what you're thinking. you just started college, is that true?

>> yeah.

>> life back to normal for you? or is there a new normal?

>> there's definitely a new normal. i don't think we'll ever get the normal that we had before, but i think we'll definitely find a new normal. haven't found it yet. but we're getting closer to it, i think.

>> i want to do a little something here. race day is going to be a very, very big day . the executive director of the boston athletic association . tom, you've got a little something to talk about?

>> i do. as we'll talk about resilience. first, we've got people who want to go out and run a race. and to do that, you have to qualify, you have to enter, and you have to have your race. here's yours as a qualified entrant.

>> numbers at a later date, yes?

>> yes.

>> and carmen , you're number two.

>> and celeste and sidney have honorary bibs. but if this race is about anybody, it's about them. ladies --

>> team boston strong.

>> exactly!

>> on the day of the race , how do you walk the line between paying tribute to those who were so impacted by what happened last year and continue to carry on a race that is a great athletic event?

>> well, there'll be a great many tribute events leading up to monday's boston marathon . that day, what we hope will have is a return to the boston marathon . an international athletic event focused on excellence and competition, but also looking at the history, particularly last year, and i think the crowd of hundreds of thousands of people will provide all the celebration and tribute that we need.

>> yeah. and natalie , i know you're running the race this year not only to support these nice people but also for some great charities.

>> really important charities. the one fund which has done so much in the long-term recovery of the victims and their families and also the challenged athletes foundation. and they do a tremendous job of giving support and the -- giving kids and people of all physical abilities the opportunities to remain athletic and to do tours.

>> it 's wonderful . i think more than any year in the past, this year is not about a time.

>> no.

>> now that i've said that, you want to predict a time?

>> i'm trying to break 3:30. but i'm happy to be doing it for a great cause.

>> i'm not trying to break 3:30.

>> we're just trying to get to the finish and be here to support everybody. thank you so much. and i do need your help to help raise money to donate to the one fund or the challenge. go to my fund raising page natalie .

>> thank you so much. really appreciate it.

>>> coming up, should expecting moms find out the sex of