Hawaii runners return to Boston Marathon

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Apr 22 2014 10:38:24 AM HST

More than 50 runners from the islands returned to Boston to conquer the challenge some never even had the chance to finish. KITV4's Lara Yamada takes us through their emotional day.

HONOLULU -

"Now there's like this huge sigh of relief going across the city," said Jacqueline Hansen.

Their strength in numbers.  A reflection of the strength in their hearts.  Thousands more runners took to the streets of Boston on Monday for a marathon impressive in number and in spirit.

Click here to watch Lara Yamada's report.

"I realized this has impacted everyone.  More than the victims, their families, the runners that saw it," said Hansen.

A champion in her own right, last year marked 40 years since Hansen won the Boston Marathon.  Now, she's a coach to Hawaii's "Team in Training."

"Boston's always got a special place in my heart for me.  And then last year, celebrating my 40th anniversary, shooting the starting gun and everything was happy and celebrating until it wasn't happy anymore," said Hansen.

"Jeaney was the only one who did not finish," said Hansen.

Under her wing -- some 50 Hawaii runners experiencing last year's trauma and determined to return.  That includes former Punahou Athletic Director Jeaney Garcia.

"It was surreal, certainly, to be asked to be turned around by armed SWAT teams," said Garcia.

One year later -- redemption.  Garcia conquered Boston's notorious Heartbreak Hill and gutted out six more miles to the finish line to join teammate Michelle Tritt.

Hours later, Hansen's close friend Meb Keflezigi became the first American in 31 years to win the Boston Marathon.  Their elation captured for all to see.

"That's overwhelming and he came by and gave me a big, big hug!" said Hansen.

One year later, they are the new memories helping repair and replace the pain of the past.

"This is a resilient crowd.  Everybody is 'Boston Strong,'" said Hansen.

Hawaii's "Team in Training" ran to raise money for the Lukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Hansen says just about everyone she came across was running for something else.  And she says a record number of charities were represented at the race.

2014 Boston Marathon spectators

A year after bombing, Boston Marathon underway

Click here to see more pictures at the 2014 Boston Marathon.

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