A group of Tulsa runners has arrived safely in Boston ahead of Monday's Boston Marathon, including our own Chera Kimiko. Some of them ran in last year's marathon, which of course, ended in terror as bombs exploded near the finish line.
Now, as they prepare for what could be the most significant marathon of their lives, they tell us runners share a special connection that will fuel them through the 26 miles ahead.
In the first chaotic moments, when first responders climbed fences to get to victims, when America began to realize it was a bomb that rocked the finish line in Boston, dedicated runners across the country made a decision.
"I knew immediately I wanted to run the following year," said Boston Marathon runner Jennifer McConnell.
McConnell is one of dozens of Tulsa runners who left Friday morning, not just to compete in this year's Boston Marathon, but to take a stand.
"I wanted to make a statement for the people who didn't get to finish, the people that were injured and for Boston in general. I wanted to stand up and be strong and say we're not going to let this keep us down," McConnell said.
News on 6 anchor Chera Kimiko is running in Boston for the second time, and while she didn't run last year, many of her running buddies did.
Ron Winn finished the race 15 minutes before the bombs exploded, leaving him not with physical scars, but with emotional scars.
"I'm surprised at how much emotion I felt, even after all this time," Winn said.
Winn said his heart has been, and will be, with the race's spectators, especially those who, last year, surrounded that now-tainted finish line.
"I don't know how I could ever truly repay them, but this is my way of showing my support," said Winn.
This year, 36,000 people will run in the marathon. That's 12,000 more than years past, a testament to the American will and spirit.
"So that tells you how important it is for everybody, not just Bostonians but for the nation," Kimiko said.
Of course, not everyone can run 26.2 miles to show their support. And while we may be with them in spirit, these marathoners are a rare breed, the kind of people who never give up on anything.
Kimiko will be taking us along on her journey this weekend and on Monday. Be sure to watch News on 6 for her updates, including an inside look at all of the new security measures the runners and spectators will have to go through.