HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some Hawaii runners who were at the Boston Marathon returned home safely on Tuesday. They're tired from the race, but it's their hearts that are aching.
Emi Akutsu ran in the Honolulu Marathon and qualified for the race in Boston. She was excited since it was her first time competing in the event, but her joy quickly turned to sorrow. She crossed the finish line 20 minutes before the blasts.
"There was a big sound, 'boom, boom.' Twice. It was so big. At first I thought it was fireworks or a cannon," said Akutsu.
Her husband, Fredrick, ran in the 5K race the day before the tragedy. On Monday, he was waiting to congratulate his wife at the end of the marathon.
"All of a sudden fewer runners were coming through, and the ones that were coming through were crying," recalled Fredrick Akutsu.
They found each other 20 minutes later. With public transportation shut down, they walked three miles back to their hotel.
Amid heightened security at the airport in Boston on Tuesday, federal agents asked passengers for videos or pictures of the area.
"In all the confusion, we forgot to put one of our bags on the conveyor belt, and by the time we got through security and realized we had forgotten to put our bag on, state police had already taken our bag and taken it away," said Fredrick Akutsu.
The Akutsu's have run marathons together in the past. Emi's finishing time on Monday qualified her for next year's race in Boston.
"Normally, after we do marathons, everyone is happy and stuff, but everyone was real somber. But everyone I've talked to, all the running ohana from here, it's not going to stop us from going back," said Fredrick Akutsu. "She ran fast enough to go back, so we're going back."
They're emotionally exhausted, but they're determined not to let this tragedy slow them down.
"We're not going to stop. If we stop running, they win, and we're not going to let them win," said Fredrick Akutsu.
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