“(We’re) just kind of in disbelief.”
Greenville resident and Boston Marathon runner
By Jane Dail
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
By the time two bomb blasts caused panic and put officials on high alert in Boston during its annual marathon Monday, all runners from Greenville were safely out of the area.
Reports recounted horrific stories of shattered glass, smoke, panicked people running away from the scene and even severed limbs. Two people were killed, and more than 130 were injured.
Of the 27,000 runners who participated in the 26.2-mile race, five from Greenville were registered to run. All the local runners finished prior to the explosions about 3 p.m., according to Boston Marathon’s website.
The Greenville participants reported they were safe or told others they were unharmed.
Joshua Corbin, an East Carolina University student who was signed up to run the marathon, never made it to Boston.
“I actually did not run the marathon because I got injured during training,” he said in an email. “I can’t believe that it happened.”
Charlie Justice, who works in the IT department at ECU and volunteers as a track coach at D.H. Conley High School, finished the race at 1:02 p.m., about two hours before the explosions. Justice said he already was back in his hotel room when he was showered with inquiries from concerned friends asking if he and his family were safe.
“We started getting bombarded with texts, phone calls and Facebook posts saying, ‘Hey, are you guys OK?’” he said by phone Monday afternoon. “Then we turned on the news and saw what happened.”
Justice said he stayed glued to the TV, watching local news for updates. Several hours later, when he and his family went to eat dinner at a restaurant near his hotel, every new detail coming from officials had their full attention.
“(The news) came on with a press conference, the governor and the chief of Boston police were making some announcements,” Justice said. “Everybody in the restaurant got quiet.”
Justice, whose family took the subway back to their hotel room, said he believes he was about three blocks away underground when the blasts happened.
Justice said those coordinating the marathon had the runners continue for a couple blocks past the finish line to keep the area from being too congested.
Katherine “Kelly” Lawton, who finished at 1:36 p.m., finished quickly enough to stay out of harm’s way.
Jean Wilkerson, who is working with Lawton on the Community Transformation Grant, said she received a text from Lawton saying she was safe.
Wilkerson said Lawton, who finished the marathon in 3 hours and 13 minutes, is in Boston with her husband and her mother.
“Her timing was so good,” Wilkerson said. “… She came in earlier than this explosion went off. I’m sure she was away from the area.”
Quinn Woodruff, a first-year student at ECU’s School of Dental Medicine, finished at 12:47 p.m. He had difficulty making calls from his cellphone but could send and receive texts.
The Associated Press reported authorities shut down cellphone service in the Boston area to prevent possible remote detonations of explosives.
“Luckily, my parents and I are OK,” Woodruff said in a text. “I had finished a while back, so we were already heading back to our hotel in Cambridge.”
Dionne Evans, who finished at 2:33 p.m., works as a trainer at Champions Health and Fitness in Winterville. Co-worker Alex Smith said Evans called in Monday to say she was unharmed.
Justice said this year marks the third time in five years he has run the Boston Marathon. He said it is unlikely he will return, but not because of the attacks.
“Before we knew about any of this, I said I probably wouldn’t come back to run it,” Justice said. “I was looking at some other (marathons) to go to.”
Justice said he still is trying to process what happened.
“It’s kind of surreal,” he said. “My kids are kind of in awe of being in the middle of this. … (We’re) just kind of in disbelief.”
Contact Jane Dail at email@example.com or 252-329-9585.
via The Daily Reflector.