Runners Share Stories Day After Marathon

By Alexander Hyacinthe
BU News Service

The morning after the tragedy and chaos near the finish line of the 117th running of the Boston Marathon, some runners shared their accounts as they prepared to head for their homes.

Dawn Milone travelled from Cleveland, Ohio to run in the marathon. The morning after, on Beacon Street in Brookline, Milone told her story. She had just crossed the finish line and was about five hundred feet away, by her account, when the first explosion occurred. “I had just gotten my medal, all of a sudden we heard this big boom,” she said. “All the runners we looked at each other like, ‘Oh my God, what was that?’ Then you could see the smoke, we turned around and it was right there. Then we heard another one go off. Do we run for cover? Is there something else coming?”

She and her boyfriend had planned to meet at the corner of Commonwealth and Massachusetts Avenues, “but it was chaos,” she said. “Policemen were screaming at us, ‘Go! Get away! Don’t walk, run! I said run!’ It was crazy.”

The two bombs that exploded near the finish line nullified the joy of Marathon Monday. People who had moments before been celebrating the race and the day were shocked into sober observation as the news unfolded. At the Holiday Inn in Brookline, runners who had finished the race grouped together in the lobby the morning after. “When we arrived [at the Holiday Inn] everyone was happy, enjoying the event. As soon as the news came out everyone stopped talking and started watching. Everybody’s mood changed completely,” said Eric Lafontaine, a runner from Atlanta, Ga.

Amy Kelderhouse of Lakeland, Fla. told of trying to get from the Copley Square area back to her hotel. After finishing the race she was in a Starbucks in Copley Square when the bombs exploded. “There were some police who were standing behind us who ran out. I thought it was strange that they just jumped out. Then we got out and saw all the ambulances and just kind of figured out how we could get back and went up side streets and stuff,” she said.

Many of the streets along the route were blocked off to foot traffic as police tried investigators tried to make sense of what had happened. “We were trying to come up Beacon and they kept closing off different parts,” Kelderhouse said. “So we had to go down side streets. We were here as things were still going on. I felt very fortunate not to be downtown.”

Sara Riley was close enough to the blast to feel the shockwave. “I was about a block away so I didn’t see anything, I could just hear it and feel the concussion,” she said. “It felt like when somebody drives by with too much bass in their car and you can feel it in your body.” Still, she was unclear what had happened. “I asked somebody if it was thunder. I thought maybe one of the subways had wrecked or something. The police weren’t there with us at that point.”

Riley and her friend Steve Goicoechea journeyed from Reno, Nevada for the Boston Marathon. Both said that they would attend again next year. In fact, all of the runners I spoke with expressed a desire to return for next year’s marathon.

“This was my second Boston Marathon, I would definitely come back,” said Lafontaine. “It may not be the same, and I understand there’s going to be some restrictions at some point but I’m definitely going to come back.”

“Absolutely, yeah I would. It’s a great race, and it’s so well run,” said Kelderhouse. “Terrible things like this you can’t predict and plan for. But I would definitely come back.”

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