2013 Boston Marathon Diana Hogan Murphy

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April 15th 2013.

The Boston marathon is the oldest and one of the best marathons in the world with its 117 year history, requirement to qualify and wonderful crowd support. It is included in the world’s top 6 marathon majors along with London, Berlin, Chicago, New York and Tokyo. Bostonians are well known for their love of sport and come out in hundreds of thousands to celebrate the Boston marathon as a family event on this public holiday. Footpaths on both sides of the 42.2km route were packed with supporters of all ages offering refreshments on this gloriously sunny day.

Athletes are grouped in three waves depending on their qualifying times starting at 10am with a 20 minute gap between each wave. Luckily I started in wave 1 based on my Dublin marathon time of 3.17 thanks to Rob Murphy’s great assistance and had happily finished one hour before the explosions occurred. As I was leaving the medical tent at the finish line area after receiving medical attention for existing blisters which I developed during the Connemara ultra marathon the week before, I heard a loud bang that sounded similar to fireworks and saw a cloud of smoke across the road. Nobody really knew what was happening and the finish line area became very congested with people starting to panic and then the second blast occurred 5 seconds later. The real panic then set in and everybody started sprinting past me away from the finish line which was full of smoke. People were screaming and crying still not really sure of what was happening. I ran towards the official exit area past the finish line with the mass crowds and as soon as I got to the other side the first response appeared to be within a very short period with armed security personnel, FBI agents, paramedics, police and military everywhere assisting people and blocking the streets leading to the finish line area. As I was staying in the block next to the crime scene in the prudential building, I was allowed enter the building by FBI agents after showing ID and proof of address. I then realised the extent of the tragedy from the TV coverage and felt so lucky to escape unharmed. I was unable to contact my family and friends for a few hours as the Internet and phones were shut down in that area. That evening I attempted to get something to eat and left the building to be greeted by armed FBI agents who screamed that I had to put my hands on my head. After a body search and identification I was escorted back to my apartment and was warned not to attempt to leave the block until further notice.

For the following few days downtown was like a fortress with military and police heavily armed with machine guns on every corner. This event was an absolute tragedy especially for the families of those 4 innocent victims who lost their lives and the 180 people who were injured. It also brought disappointment to many athletes who were unable to cross the finish line after months of diligent training.  Hopefully this cowardly incident will not deter those from participating and supporting public events and will bring more crowd support and strength to people year after year.

15 Apr 2013 13:50

 © Miriam Griffin 2012