Tammy Bautista ran her first marathon on the Big Island having never run more than eight miles in her life. After that, she says she was hooked. She even won first in her age group.

Her affinity for running quickly carried her to the oldest annual marathon in the world.

"I just always heard about qualifying for the big Boston Marathon," said Bautista.

Bautista traversed 26.2 miles of Boston roads in 2011 and in 2012. She qualified again in 2013. But Tammy Bautista was not there when the deadly bombs went off.

"My mom talked me out of it- she said you ran in 2011 and 2012 you need to a different marathon," said Bautista.

The what-ifs constantly echoing.

"Just the thought of my family -- they could have been at the finish line," Bautista said.

Fast forward three years -- tragedy struck again, this time closer to home.

"My mom, dad, and sister were killed in a car accident. I just put on my shoes, and ran so hard like my heart was going to bust out," said Bautista.

Now, three years after the worst news of her life -- seven after her last Boston Marathon -- Tammy Bautista has her sights set on Boston 2020.

"I didn't do it since before my parents and sisters tragedy, so now its kind of like overcoming that fear that I had," said Bautista.

When she runs the Honolulu Marathon on December 8, the stakes will be higher than ever. If she crosses the Kalakaua Avenue checkers in under three hours forty minutes, she will qualify for the Boston marathon.

"I'll never be the same, but definitely I've become a stronger person. So just like Boston, Boston strong," she said.