Delaware runners are making their way back from the Boston Marathon a day after two explosions killed three and injured more than 170 people.
Dirk Sweigart with the Pike Creek Valley Running Club in New Castle said he and his fiancé heard the two bombs go off shortly after they crossed the finish line yesterday afternoon.
“They were about three blocks away and we weren’t sure what they were,” explained Sweigart. “It wasn’t like everybody realized right away that they were explosions.”
He said they heard sirens and began seeing emergency vehicles making their way to the finish line area.
“I actually traveled back down to Copley Square, about maybe two blocks away from where it happened and they were evacuating people and I saw people moving away and running away,” explained Sweigart. “Some of them were crying and I thought ‘Oh my, this is very serious.’”
Doug White of the Delaware Sports Club was in the final stretch of the marathon when runners in front of him began to stop.
“I was running in like everyone else and all of the sudden, about half a mile from the finish line, they stopped us, just like a crash on I-95, we all just started backing up and nobody knew what happed,” explained White. “We heard the sirens; no one heard the explosion from that distance.”
This was White’s 40th consecutive Boston Marathon and several family members were waiting for him to cross the finish line.
“We were told there were explosions at the finish line and my two daughters, my son, my sister, my brother, my wife were all at the finish line so I was in a panic,” said White.
Luckily, his family was unharmed and they were able to reunite as police cleared the race area.
Ed Hartwell was working at the 40 kilometer timing station near Fenway Park when he got the news of the explosion.
“The cops started pushing people aside, there were a lot of emergency vehicles cruising up the course and heading toward the finish line,” he said.
He said he had to break the news to many concerned runners and spectators passing his station.
“People were just really looking for information and they were just very scared, especially the ones who had family at the finish,” said Hartwell.
Hartwell has been to hundreds of races and said the tragedy at the Boston Marathon doesn’t change the way he feels about the race and he plans to go back next year.
“My feeling on it, I hope we have the biggest crowd next year in Boston, I think that America’s spirit will bounce us back and we’ll come back stronger,” he said.
Sweigart said he never felt unsafe or worried about security at the marathon.
“When we were at the start, there were some dogs wandering around and this guy with a uniform that said something about bomb sniffing and I thought ‘that’s interesting I’m glad they have security here at the start’ but beyond that, we never really thought about security,” he explained.
Sweigart said he would like to go back to the race next year to show his support.
“I want to come back and say I’m not afraid and support the city because it’s a great event,” he said.
Many local runners and spectators stayed in Boston overnight and are making their way back to Delaware today.
People resolve to not let this get the best of them and will return next year. Rob Tornoe offers an editorial cartoon on the issue.