Many of you know that I ran the Boston Marathon today. This was a dream race for me; something I had always hoped to complete in my life. Well, I got about 500 meters short of finishing today, less than five minutes from the finish line.
It started as a beautiful race, as I jogged alongside my fellow charity runner, Dave Cairns, who leads the Pilgrim Pines camp in NH. Compared to the heat of last year, it was sunny and in the 50s. I actually ended up with a sunburn on my face, neck, and legs. I really enjoyed seeing a few friends cheering me on along the way. The crowds were amazing, though I refrained from kissing any of the Wellesley College girls (though I saw a few guys take advantage of their offers). Yet, Newton’s hills were too much for me. I was at my pace in the first half but slowed significantly on the back half.
Just two turns from the finish line (about 500 meters), everybody stopped all of a sudden. Nobody seemed to know what was happening. We heard the race was finished. We then learned there had been a bomb at the finish line. Immediately, cops, SWAT, FBI, men in Hazmat suits, and others flooded in. Everybody but the runners were urged to leave the area. I was able to keep walking, though nobody had any answers. I was freezing in my running shirt for over an hour as people kept redirecting me to the Public Gardens, near Copley Square, etc. I finally got my bag with my phone and jacket. Up to that point, I tried over four phone from strangers, but nothing got through. They shut down cell service out of fear of more bombs being triggered by a phone. Every building was locked down, meaning most runners were freezing with just their thin silver blanket.
My friend, Dave, was 200 meters from the finish line when it happened. He heard what sounded like a cannon and then saw the smoke fill the whole street. Luckily, his family was a block away; though his boys are quite shaken up.
With cell phones not working and everything in chaos, most people were confused about what was happening and how to get hold of or meet their families/friends. I eventually got in touch with Miho, though one of the strangers who let me borrow their phone kept trying to call Miho for me and got through (which came as a surprise to Miho, hearing from a lady she doesn’t even know that I am ‘fine’). With the subways also closed, I ended up having to walk about a half hour to Charles River/MGH stop to get up to Alewife, for Miho to pick me up. We are so glad in hindsight that she didn’t come to the finish line, as traffic and public transportation would have been a nightmare with two little kids.
Most people I talked to were shocked by why somebody would do this at such an international festive event. What statement were they trying to make? I sense it is like the bombings at the Olympics, as it shows evil in such a global unifying event. Reports indicate over 100 were injured and two dead. I also heard that they found a couple more bombs that didn’t go off. Please pray for our police force, leaders, and those who are suffering from this tragic terrorism.
Thank you also for your concerns for me. I am so grateful to have friends around the world thinking of us in such a time like this. We are again touched by your care in our experiences of tragedies (we have had enough disasters to last a lifetime).