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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA runners recall horror, chaos amid explosions in Boston Marathon

Stuart Cahill
Emergency personnel assist the victims at the scene of a bomb blast during the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, April 15, 2013. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald/MCT)

Kathy Stoehr was about 10 seconds away from crossing the Boston Marathon finish line when an explosion went off, followed almost immediately by a second blast.

Stoehr, a doctoral candidate in the UA College of Education, was running her ninth consecutive marathon in Boston. As she neared the finish line, she already felt wiped out physically and mentally, she said. The first two explosions came around 2:50 p.m., blowing two spectators onto the course.

“They were just in really, really tough shape, just lying there on the street,” Stoehr said. “I just keep seeing them in my mind, blown by sheer force onto the course. I just keep thinking of them and wondering how they’re doing, how their families are doing and if they made it.”

Stoehr said she didn’t know where to go after the explosions. She kept running toward the finish line, hoping she could get out, she said. However, police barricaded the finish line and opened up a street to divert everyone away from the scene, Stoehr said.

People were frantic, screaming, and trying to leave the scene as quickly as possible. Stoeher described the scene as “pretty gruesome.”

Stoehr said she did not get back to her hotel for a couple of hours and the third explosion went off about 40 minutes after the first two. She said at that point she was scared and wondering how many more bombs were left.

“It’s just heartbreaking, so tragic and so not necessary,” Stoehr added. “One of my first thoughts, when I figured out that it was caused by another person, was like “Who would do this? Why?’”

The explosions killed three and resulted in more than 140 injuries, as of Monday night.

Taylor Curry, a creative writing junior at the UA, won’t remember qualifying for next year’s Boston Marathon without a twinge of sadness.

Curry woke up at 6 a.m. Monday and headed to the starting line of the race. She started the race at 10:20 a.m. and finished at about 1:50 p.m., when she learned she qualified to run in the marathon next year as well. An hour later, when she was in her hotel room, she received a call from her friend
in Tucson asking if she was safe.

“The Boston Marathon is just a dream for so many people to run,” Curry said. “It’s supposed to be such a happy day and such a fulfilling thing and it was kind of taken away. I’m really excited about the time I got, but at the same time I have this looming sadness behind it.”

The restaurants around Curry’s hotel were closed. Stoehr said hotel staff encouraged guests to remain inside.

Officials confirmed the two explosions at the finish line, in addition to a third fire or “incendiary device” at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, where black smoke was seen billowing.

“We’ve had a horrific attack in Boston this afternoon,” said Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick at a news conference.

Police discovered at least two other devices and had a controlled detonation on at least one object. Supervisory Special Agent Martin Feely of the FBI’s New York Bureau said there was no advance warning or hint of a planned attack on Boston Monday.

However, Feely could neither confirm nor deny that New York has already dispatched agents to Boston, but said, “To the extent that assistance is needed, we certainly will.”

A White House official said: “Shortly after being notified of the incident around 3 p.m. EDT, the President received a briefing from Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco and other members of his senior White House staff in the Oval Office.”

“We will get to the bottom of this. We will find out who did this and we will find out why,” said President Barack Obama Monday evening. “They will feel the full weight of justice.”

Stoehr, who is planning to return to Tucson today, if possible, said she hopes the marathon will continue on, despite what happened this year.

“I think if it weren’t to happen then it would be sending a message that we’re scared and we’re going to cower under cowards who do things to hurt innocent people,” Stoehr said. “I will continue to run and I’ll be back next year hoping to support this wonderful marathon and this incredible city of people.”

Compiled from staff and McClatchy wire reports.

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