Hawaii runners finish ‘strong’ in Boston Marathon

Photo provided by Angela Kwong.

Nearly 36,000 runners took part in Monday’s Boston Marathon, with approximately 60 participants from Hawaii. It was the second-largest field in the event’s 118-year history.

Runners stood shoulder-to-shoulder at the starting line, each with their own story to tell.

Jen Tom of Maui was one of dozens of runners from Hawaii who competed last year and vowed to return in 2014.

“The race announcer shouted out to us take back that finish line, so as soon as those words were shouted, there was just a huge rush,” she said. “Everybody was just so pumped around the race and this morning, we definitely took back that finish line… The city definitely came together and proved that we will rise above.”

“It was definitely a pretty emotional start with the national anthem at the beginning. I think everyone was a little teary,” said Rachel Ross of Honolulu.

Ross says safety was never a concern. “All along the barricades there was a police officer within sight of every police officer for the entire 26 miles,” she said. “I told my mom I was probably in the safest place in the country right now.”

Like hundreds of others, Ross crossed the finish line holding hands with another runner. In her case, it was fellow Hawaii athlete, Katherine Nichols.

“This was such an important one to come and do,” Ross said. “I feel like it was such a good — a healing for everyone who did it last year and the whole country is kind of watching. It was such an exciting thing to be a part of.”

Many described it as an exciting and truly emotional experience.

“Definitely that turn onto Boylston St., as I expected, was full of a sea of emotions,” Tom said.

Angela Kwong says this year’s finish was simply overwhelming and filled with aloha.

“The whole time I knew I was putting my energy toward the victims and their families and focusing on them,” Kwong said. “I was excited, emotional and (for) the last two miles I was literally bawling, because I knew that was about the time that they were cheering for everybody last year.

“They did a great job and Boston Strong for sure,” Kwong said.

Related Story:

Group photo of Hawaii runners at this year’s Boston Marathon (Photo: Pete Thalman)

Race fans cheer runners as they start the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014. in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

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