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(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Boston) - The 26.2 miles of the 117th Boston Marathon hold an emotional significance for one team running this year.
After a moment of silence, Team Newtown Strong will run each mile for each one of the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy.
"Mile 12 is Gracie's mile, and she would love to hear you cheer, she would love to have a voice again, she loved to run, so cheer for Gracie and all of our children," Team Newtown Strong runner Dr. Laura Nowacki.
As a Newtown pediatrician, Dr. Laura Nowacki was called to the school on Dec. 14 to triage patients.
But after finding her own fourth grade daughter safe, there was no one she could help.
She says that heartbreak will be her team's motivation throughout the race.
"When we hit the Newton hills and we hit Heartbreak Hill, we know it's nothing like the pain and the suffering that our parents are feeling back home, and it's just running but we want our steps to count," Dr. Nowacki said.
The first 20 miles are dedicated to the lives and spirit of the Sandy Hook first graders killed that day.
"We run the final six for our six fallen educators, who gave everything of themselves, including their lives, to protect our children," Dr. Nowacki said.
And just when these runners hit the home stretch, mile marker 26 will remind them why they keep pushing through the pain.
The marker, unveiled Thursday, dressed in Sandy Hook's school colors, proudly displays the Newtown seal with 26 stars shining brightly for the 26 lives lost.
"We're going to sprint like we ran that day to get to our children," said Dr. Nowacki, "and we're going to fly like those little kids flew to get out of that horror and to get to the firehouse, and we're just going to let it all out and run for the freedom and that full on love of life that those kids had."
Team Newtown Strong is raising money for the Newtown Strong Fund. It's a non-profit organization donating all profits to a scholarship fund for the siblings and relatives of the Sandy Hook victims.