Commonwealth Journal

April 16, 2013

Marathoner’s friends ‘scared to death’

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Gallatin, Tenn. —

Monday’s horrific attack at the Boston Marathon left may glued to their computer screens and television as details unfolded through the chaos. 
But another layer of terror was added for those who had friends and loved ones at the event — whether they be running the course that sprawls across Boston and into the surrounding bedroom communities, or cheering someone on. 
“They were scared to death,” said Charlie Taylor, 54, an avid runner, about his several friends who’d made the trip to Boston to participate in the race. “You just ... they just didn’t know what was going on.”
Taylor, a Gallatin, Tenn. resident and Somerset native, watched the 117th Boston Marathon throughout the day Monday, cheering his fellow runners on as they crossed the finish line. Just before 3 p.m., Taylor received a text from a friend and a fellow runner who had finished the marathon already.
“He texted and said ‘What’s going on? We heard booms and we’re at the hotel and they won’t let us leave.’”
Taylor’s friend was at the Lenox Hotel, situation right on Boylston Street in Boston near the finish line of the renowned race. The Lenox is also located between the locations of two explosions that went off almost simultaneously — around 10 seconds apart — at around 2:50 p.m. Monday.
Taylor ran the marathon in 2012, and he said the 26-mile race, a flagship event for Boston’s Patriot’s Day festivities, is heavy on spectators and participants.
“There’s a million people watching the Boston Marathon,” said Taylor. “There’s not one spot on that course that isn’t 10 people deep.” 
Still, the timing of Monday’s attack may have yielded the smallest silver lining: Because the race was within its fourth hour, there were fewer people who lined the race course than there could have been. 
As of around 6 p.m. Monday, it was reported that as many as 100 people had been injured in the blasts. Two people were reportedly killed. The blasts had taken place in the spectator areas of the marathon, and police reportedly discovered additional explosive devices in the area and detonated those devices safely after spectators and runners in the area were evacuated. 
“Evil people do evil things,” said Taylor.
Of the around 22,000 runners in the race, 120 of them registered as Kentuckians, and 261 registered from Tennessee. Although the explosions appeared to target spectators at the event, several runners were injured as well. 
“Whoever did this is targeting people,” said Taylor. “It’s fearful to know ... you’re not safe anywhere really.”
Details about the explosive devices, including what was in the devices that caused such injuries as lacerations, broken bones, head injuries and even amputated limbs, according to witnesses, was still being gathered Monday. 
Police announced one person was being questioned as of Monday, but no arrests had been made.
Runners often strive to participate in the Boston Marathon — a race that requires a qualifying time to participate — at least once in their lives. Taylor was able to do that in 2012. It’s an experience to remember for all participating runners. 
But after this year’s attack, the event may never quite be the same. 
“That (the Boston Marathon) is sacred to runners,” added Taylor. “It’s terrifying.”