Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
Sunny
64°
Sunny
Hi 82° | Lo 55°

Local runners, spectators describe explosions in Boston

  • An injured woman is tended to at the finish line of the Boston Marathon,  in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Boston Globe,  John Tlumacki) MANDATORY CREDIT; BOSTON OUT

    An injured woman is tended to at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Boston Globe, John Tlumacki) MANDATORY CREDIT; BOSTON OUT Purchase photo reprints »

  • An injured woman is tended to at the finish line of the Boston Marathon,  in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/The Boston Globe,  John Tlumacki) MANDATORY CREDIT; BOSTON OUT

“I knew they were explosions,” Kliegl said. “They were loud. The second one was not as loud as the first, so I figured it was farther away, but I didn’t know where it was coming from.”

Recovering from the severe physical demands of the long run, Kliegl, 62, did the only thing that seemed sensible, which was to keep walking away from the finish area. He proceeded to Stuart Street, passing the rows of parked school buses that carry runners’ extra clothing from Hopkinton back to Copley Square. Just beyond them, near the Revere Hotel, was also the waiting charter bus on which Kliegl and other local runners would ride back to the Valley.

Kliegl, along with David Martula, 68, of Hadley, and Donna Utakis, 45, of Amherst, both of whom had finished a few minutes earlier, saw the growing crowd around a television screen in the hotel and watched as more details of the news came in.

As Kliegl described it, “Everybody was looking (at the screen), in utter shock. People couldn’t believe it.”

He pointed out that both explosions were on the north side of Boylston Street, in an area where eager spectators pack themselves six deep on the sidewalk to watch the finish. Between building fronts and the steel barriers that prevent them from spilling into the street where more than 17,000 runners had finished the race or were about to, these spectators were boxed in when the explosions occurred.

“They had no place to go,” said Kliegl, sorrow and empathy evident in his voice.

Jeff Mish, 55, of Hadley, finished the race in 3:24:06. That put him at Copley Square less than an hour after his son, Brad, who arrived in an excellent time of 2:36:23.

MaryAnn Mish, Jeff’s wife and Brad’s mother, was waiting for them in the finish area.

“She had never been to the finish area before,” said Jeff Mish, who could hardly help noticing that if he had been much slower, his wife might still have been in the finish area when the explosions occurred. “Brad was in the BAA’s tent. We got him and went to get onto the trolley. The trolley went one stop, and then they told everybody to get off it. We felt like cattle – sort of a mob, but everyone stayed orderly. We hailed a taxi and got out of there. If we hadn’t, we might still be there.”

The explosions also meant that several thousand runners completed only 20 or 25 miles before officials closed the course. Among them was Sydney Henthorn of Northampton.

“There was maybe half a mile to the finish,” said Henthorn, 54, who was running her first marathon. “I was at the head of a pack, ready to see if I could get under 4:10, and they told us to stop. They didn’t give a lot of information about what was wrong. Where we were, we had no water, everyone was standing there, shivering in the cold – but the people around us were great. Some gave clothes to the runners. Someone gave me a Polar Fleece to wear. Then people saw photos on the Internet.”

A few blocks away, former Gazette reporters Anna Maria Goossens and Jim Danko of Holyoke had just craned their necks to get a look at the famous race’s final yards and were walking to find a place to wait for Goossens’ mother, Roswitha Goossens-Winter of Corpus Christi, Texas, who was running her fifth Boston Marathon.

“We were about a block from the explosion on Huntington Avenue,” Goossens said. “We were just trying to get a sense of the atmosphere. Then race volunteers were telling us to get out of there. Things were pretty discombobulated for a few minutes.”

Goossens said her mother was one of several thousand runners who were stopped by police and race volunteers on Commonwealth Avenue, a mile short of the finish, and directed away from the area.

“At first they didn’t tell (the runners) anything about what had happened, but some runners had cell phones with them,” Goossens said. “My mother borrowed somebody’s phone and called us. It was an enormous relief to me, because I knew she was going to finish the race somewhere just around that time.”

She added, “We had brought a bottle of champagne to celebrate Mom’s fifth Boston. Back at her hotel, we opened the champagne to toast the fact that we were alive and safe.”

Related

Valley spectators, runners shaken by shocking attack

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Waiting for her daughter to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon, Elaine Puleo of Shutesbury heard an explosion about 200 yards away that she and others initially thought was a cannon firing. When a second explosion occurred moments later, they quickly realized that something was amiss. “It was just chaos. It was chaos,” Puleo said. “It was really … 0

Boston Marathon bombings kill three, injure over 140

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

BOSTON — Two bombs exploded in the crowded streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least three people and injuring more than 140 in a bloody scene of shattered glass and severed limbs that raised alarms that terrorists might have struck again in the U.S. A White House official speaking on condition of anonymity … 0

Boston mourns after bombs kill three, injure at least 144

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

BOSTON — Boston was in mourning Tuesday for three killed and at least 144 wounded in a “cowardly” bombing at the Boston Marathon, leaving the tragedy-wracked city scrambling for answers as to how a terrorist was able to plant two explosive devices on a busy stretch of Boylston Street at a high-security international event. “This cowardly act will not be … 0

Runners describe Boston Marathon finish-line chaos

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

BOSTON — Runners who had just finished their 26.2-mile ordeal, already on the verge of collapse, were stunned and shocked by the explosions that rocked the finish line Monday afternoon. “I was just finished and collecting my medal when it went off,” said runner Mike McMahan of Maple Grove, Minn. “Then the next one went off 10 seconds later. I … 0

Witnesses describe scene of Boston Marathon bombing

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

BOSTON — Witnesses who heard the bomb blasts near the finish line of the Boston Marathon walked into a scene of chaos and carnage where they had expected celebration and revelry. A few accounts from people who were there: BRUCE MENDELSOHN was attending a post-race party in an office building just above the blast site when an explosion knocked him … 0

Photo gallery after bombs explode at Boston Marathon

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

BOSTON — Bloodied victims are carried on stretchers and pushed in wheelchairs to safety. Police clear the scene strewn with debris and broken glass. A runner, crying, is comforted after the explosions. Here are some images from the bombing at the Boston Marathon finish line. … 0

President Obama vows Boston culprits to feel ‘weight of justice’

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

WASHINGTON — A stony-faced President Barack Obama declared that those responsible for the explosions at the Boston Marathon “will feel the full weight of justice,” but he urged a nervous nation not to jump to conclusions. Top lawmakers declared the deadly incident an act of terrorism, and a White House official said it was being treated that way. Obama, speaking … 0

Hospitals prepared for sprains end up treating carnage after Boston Marathon explosions

Thursday, April 18, 2013

BOSTON — Boston hospitals that were prepared Monday to treat injuries from a rigorous road race instead mobilized disaster plans to treat the dozens seriously injured in the explosions that killed three people at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. “This is something I’ve never seen in my 25 years here ... this amount of carnage in the civilian … 0

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.