Your Stories: Were You In Boston On Marathon Day?

The city of Boston is recovering after two bombs exploded during the Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 170. Thousands of people, from Boston and around the world, were there when the bombs went off – those who came to run and those who came to cheer them on. This is the place to share your stories. Did you attend the Marathon or do you know someone who was there? What happened? How are you feeling now?

Boston Marathon Explosions

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It's hard because here's a day you're celebrating, and now you're going to worry before any event - is something going to happen?

Kristen Paskevich Lab worker, Children's Hospital

It was terrifying; I was hysterical. Everybody was crying and screaming and police were pushing us. People were hiding under buses and panicking and trying to wedge themselves between buildings. It was just chaos.

Rebecca Roche Boston Marathon runner

A few friends and I were right in the middle of the two explosions. The first one went off to my left, and realizing something was terribly wrong, [I] turned to run to my right only to be met with another explosion right in front of me. I have never been so scared.

Hayley Ryan At the marathon

A police officer in the standard neon yellow they wear for the marathon walked into the middle of the course and held up his hands. For thousands of runners, they could not believe their eyes. Less than five minutes from the finish line and they were being told to stop. I snapped a picture of disoriented, woozy runners hunched over in pain.

Kevin Donovan At the marathon

People lying on the ground mangled, blood, glass shattered ... I've covered a lot of things and this is probably the worst thing I've ever seen.

David Abel Boston Globe reporter

There was sort of this beat where everybody in the emergency department sort of stopped for a second. And it was almost like you could hear each other breathing. And everybody looked at me and said

Robert Osgood

It was awful. It was tragic and awful. I finished - or I was about a half mile from the finish - and there was this crowd of people, we just couldn't keep running, we had no idea what was going on.

Morgan Burke First-time marathon runner

Fear, anger, sadness, inability to concentrate, irritability, exhaustion, confusion...

Jake DiMare WBUR Commenter

We talked, we hugged, we worried - together with the strangers among us - about all of you and the thousands like you running, and the spectators and the victims.

Caroline Lane At the marathon

The heat and concussive force hit me and for a second I couldn't hear anything. The ground shook and a huge fireball went up in the air ... I saw a guy running with his girlfriend in his arms, her jeans and legs torn apart and bleeding.

Tori Holmes-Kirk Hit by the blast

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  • Nicholas Cochran-Caggiano

    We at Boston College became the staging ground for resources going in to the city and for providing shelter, nourishment and medical evaluation to runners, volunteers and spectators. Myself and a few others coordinated triage from buses into St. Ignatius Church. As the Boston College Ambulance service, what we did was our jobs. The true heroes, are those who were not uniformed, those who appeared out of the woodwork with food, with drink, procured with their own money and distributed them to anyone who looked weak or ill. I know that I cannot capture the power and grace of that moment, but I felt it was absolutely necessary to share the story of those true heroes.

  • John S. Keating
  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.vogel.10 Gary Vogel

    My wife, who just came to US, and I were next to the Lenox Hotel in a back alley. We were 7 people deep and excited to finally see some runners. Two minutes after we got there, we saw the first explosion, then heard the second one. We began yelling “keep calm” and “get out of here” to everyone around us. Scary. My heart goes to the people injured and killed, the runners who were just about to cross the finishing line, and those who could not fulfill their dream yesterday.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.carter.3532 Lee Carter

    It’s extremely important in the short term to help the victims rebuild their lives directly, but in the long term we must not forget the purpose of this form of terrorism. Whoever did this is trying to instill fear in all of us, and to disrupt our lives. If we start pointing fingers or watching each other with suspicion, then the terrorist will have won. When we continue living our lives, loving each other just as we always have, then we will have the truest possible revenge on whoever did this.

  • Paula Rosenstock

    The Boston Marathon is a daylong celebration in this city. My husband and I witnessed wonderful sights walking from Cleveland Circle to our usual spot in front of Temple Ohabei Shalom at Kent Street: Orthodox Jewish man and his family hanging out with a Brookline cop, next to a group of young people speaking Arabic, near a group of Indian women camped out on the sidewalk in their colorful saris, young kids selling lemonade, everyone clapping wildly or shaking cowbells for every wheelchair or runner that passes, soldiers marching by in their fatigues,carrying 50 pound knapsacks-(they started out from Hopkinton at 4AM!), saw Taiko drumming, heard African drummers…and of course lots of students drinking beer…that is the wonderful side of the Marathon. Growing up in Boston the Marathon has always been a part of my life–it fell on my birthday (the 19th) until it was changed to a Monday holiday. My dad was one of the early runners in Brighton, he got stopped by the cops in his early years of running the reservoir–this was a new sight in the late 50′s. We used to go out to Hopkinton and follow the runners all the way in to the end. Not many runners in those days. We never went home until we saw the elder and the younger John Kelly, the Preacher, Erich Segal. I want to remember all the wonderful parts of the Marathon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leora.falk Leora Falk

    I didn’t see the attacks, but I must have been on the T, near the finish line but underground, when it happened. I have really found memories of the Boston Marathon from my childhood. Here is what I wrote about the day, reflecting back on the Marathon as part of Boston’s culture: http://leorafalk.com/2013/04/16/love-that-dirty-water/

  • http://twitter.com/photOral Stamatis N. Astra

    (before and after pic in the post link http://astrablog.com/blog/?p=1010 )

    What I saw at the Finish Line

    It was 2:33, one more picture, one more tweet. I managed a coveted
    spot at the Finish line, at the 4:00:00 mark. I saw people finishing
    26.2 miles, people in pain but with a smile. I saw the highest level of
    motivation and inspiration. I saw parents pushing the carriages of their
    sick children; they run and push their loved ones. I saw old runners
    beating their aching knees; I saw all the flags of the world being
    carried by proud spectators, young and old alike. I saw the charity
    runners smile as they point into the printed name on their shirt: “For
    Greg,” and “Beat MS”. I saw the 5-year-old jump the rails to join daddy
    and run with him towards the finish line. I saw the family holding the
    homemade sign, and scream on the top of their lungs, to be heard by
    their loved one. I saw the highest of the human spirit, keep on keeping
    on, running and prevailing, despite the uphill course, despite the pain.

    And at 2:50, I saw smoke, right next to me. I saw jubilation turn to
    panic. I saw blood, and body parts. I saw mothers hold tight their
    babies. I saw teenagers crying and seeking their parents in the crowd. I
    saw courage from the officers running towards the fire. I saw
    unconditional love as the hurt husband was crying and hugging his loved
    one covered in blood. I saw the power of all of us getting together,
    huddling, hugging and helping. I saw the reporters dignifying the
    victims and giving them space. I saw the dazed runners walking off
    course, crossing an imaginary finish line for the race they were denied
    to finish. I saw a toddler hug her mother and innocently ask: “where is
    the finish line?”. I saw evil and terror met with compassion and
    character. And character won. Life is a marathon. But a marathon is
    life, despite the death.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jerold.paquette Jerold G. Paquette

    I feel so bad for tho who lost their loved ones and for those injured . Their’s just no explanation…

  • Dana Shetterly

    Maybe someone can explain to me why we were being evacuated from Kenmore Station at 2:48 PM…..before the bomb went off. MBTA police told me it was a “bomb scare”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/qdedolce Quelina DeDolce

      things dont add up…someone said the blast the kid did was under the mexico flag….no picture proves it..just shows him walking….suppopsedly bomb drill were happening at same time.

  • Erin Penha

    Celebrating a marathon and a friend’s birthday, we emerged from a basement apartment on Commonwealth Avenue to a very bewildered scene of confused people and stalled runners that were moving slower than normal near the Massachusetts underpass. Nevertheless we continued to laugh and cheer on our way to a Kenmore bar until we saw military personnel and heard chatter of bombs in the street. As fear set in, the distinction that the race had actually stopped became apparent and more panicked people rushed toward us. We were forced to make a tough decision to retreat for safety or bring the piled, exhausted runners water. (On marathon route)

  • Susan Mello

    We had a great afternoon; lunch down just past the finish line, then watching and cheering a little farther up on Boylston Street. We watched for over an hour, then decided to walk a little farther up the street. We had literally walked about 2-3 minutes when we heard the first explosion. While wondering just what it was, the second explosion happened, and was much closer to us. We knew something was very wrong, and moved quickly to get around the corner on Fairfield Street. As I am very short, my husband made me walk against the buildings so I would not be trampled. We made our way back to South Station and out of the city.

    The next day we were trying to piece together exactly where we had been standing. We gradually began to realize that we had been very close. Then, last night the news media began showing before & after shots of the site of the second blast. We saw ourselves in the before shot, standing only feet from what may have been the second bomb! We are feeling somewhat numb and extremely grateful that we decided to move just 2-3 minutes before the explosion. Our hearts go out to the people that were still there. We are haunted by the memories of people we spoke to and wondering if they are ok.

  • Hannah Taytslin

    To attack an event that is so innocent, so welcoming to all people, inviting to all nations, so clean of any political discourse. To have tarnished our Boston Marathon; to have created this war zone in the heart of our city, in our back yard. Such carnage, reaching rooftops; so much damage in such a powerful and concentrated blast.

    Right under the noses of our brave and selfless law enforcement, medical staff, volunteers, citizens, visitors. Who ran toward the blast, saving lives with their clothes turned tourniquets; who ran to the hospitals to donate their blood.

    With so many questions still unanswered.

    I am angry. I am tired, bitter, and worn down from death, tragedy, and senseless extremism here and around the world.

    It’s even more important now to remember the bright lights among us; the young boy who offered his advice to the amputee victims, after having just recovered from a car accident that left him with one leg; the museums that are opening their doors to give us respite from the terrible thoughts that cloud our minds.

    I am stunned, tired, angry, bitter. Sad. And resolute, as we all must be, to honor the ones who cannot be.

  • realsupergirl

    I had a great afternoon. I watched elite runners at mile 23 in Brookline and cheered them on. It was my son’s first marathon; he turns one this week. He started to cry the first time he heard all the cheering but got used to it after that. We walked down to Coolidge corner and then all the way thought Allston, where we caught the 66 bus to Harvard square to meet his other mother. I didn’t know anything had happened till 3:30 when I got in the car and heard NPR talking about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kristina.fontanez Kristina Fontanez

    This picture of the alleged marathon bomber is going viral – has law enforcement seen this?


  • Deborah Kalin

    On April 15,2013, there were over fifty bombs in Iraq and two in Boston.

    And yet, as I FaceBook posted my Marathon experience (below) in came this email:

    “Dear Deborah and
    Boston citizens,

    Please accept our condolences for your losses.


    on behalf of the
    Peacemaker Teams (MPT), Najaf, Iraq”

    Photo collage

    The FaceBook post, Deborah Kalin, SisterLightning

    Until April 15, 2013 at 2:50 pm, the Boston Marathon was my favorite spectator sport. Rite of International yet intimate, eventually
    egalitarian, the race substantiated my Rite of Spring and the ritual of civil
    society. From sleepy Hopkinton to the hoppin’ Pru, all breeds of well-wishers line the nearly 27asphalted-mile route. These are volunteers
    who make it happen, police and medical personnel who keep it safe, media who make it big, hucksters who add color, givers who underscore democracy, and families of all forms who make it real. A friendly phalanx, all stand ready to embrace the runners and by good intentions, move the runners to the next mile.

    Monday, a friend and I stood at mile marker #19 until runner #28,983 passed. Layered in fleece, zipped against an
    eastern ocean wind, we awaited the elites. Again, the disabled marathoners humbled us. This year, we noted the expansion of hand propulsion devices, were awed by a recumbent runner, who had perhaps injured his mid-thoracic spine,
    and silenced as sure-footed uniformed veterans followed. We pretended to know the qualifying
    times and the strategies of the women and men professionals, but really, it is a good thing they flash by, for it’s difficult to sustain the pretention.

    Fantasy and projections prevail upon the EveryPersons, those runners reaching us as the
    elites cross the finish line. Like the soccer Moms we once were, we cheered. We targeted encouragements by visual clues, geography,
    colors, and names: “Go Denmark” from a jersey; “Looking good Pink” from a tutu; “You’ll make it Jen” from a Sharpie-d forehead. We worried about anorexics and bouncing breasts. Joan S. passed. Young children, ready with orange slice, nearly displaced us on the curb; later, still younger children, hands out for a high-five, found their connections to the runners’ goodwill. Bill R. in flowing cape and knight’s lance dubbed a three-year-old successor. Family & friends teams carried placards and took photos and then, sprinted off to the next mile marker.

    Around 2:45 pm, the crowds thinned, a bit beyond mile marker #20, the foot of Heartbreak Hill, Istarted home on a downhill path facing the runner’s. These are the people determined ”just to finish”. A decade since any spring in my running step, I related as each trudged
    up the last of the seven Newton hills. Without the earlier razzmatazz, in passing I cheered
    self-consciously: “You’re over half-way. You’re almost at the top.”

    “You lie.”, I heard and turned to see an elder, badly stooped. He was already wrapped in a silver thermal blanket. Because he summoned
    a memory of an irascible but beloved cousin, I turned around, stepped to his
    side, and we climbed together in silence. No breath for many words.

    At a strategic
    moment, I left for him alone to conquer the crest.

    Knowing what I knew at 3:10, when the TV imaged the bombs and anchors with thousand mile
    stares, I wished I had stayed besides him.

    If only to say, in my still quivering voice, “Next year!” .

    On April
    15,2013, there were over fifty bombs in Iraq and two in Boston.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hannah.ruth.50 Hannah Ruth

    As I was running my first marathon on Monday, something I have dreamed about ever since watching the marathon as a young child, I was in Brookline, when a fellow runner turned around, put her arms out and said “Stop, the marathon is over”. At the time, I was very confused, and couldn’t figure out why a marathon would end, so I kept running. As I ran under the Fenway exit on Storrow drive, I saw my mom, boyfriend, and boyfriend’s mom running towards me frantically. They yelled to me and just said that I had to stop running and that something bad was happening at the finish line. I just fell apart. A minute earlier, I had been running with a huge smile across my face as I neared the finish line. My dreams were crushed. I tried to pull away and keep running. Then, my mom said “Hannah, two bombs have gone off, we need to get away from the city” and I stopped resisting their hugs. We all embraced, and started walking away from the city. Looking back on my reaction, I cannot believe I was so concerned about crossing that finish line and getting my medal, especially now knowing that those bombs took lives and altered lives forever. I haven’t gotten my medal yet, but if I do, it will be given to an injured child. There are no words to express my devastation surrounding Monday’s tragedy.

  • Steve Cleveland

    Boston is one of those places that everyone has a story
    about. Long, strong roots of liberty from Britain stretch from this tree of
    Patriotism across the fabric of our Country and the Globe. The Red Sox cap is as
    familiar as Coca Cola. The short, sharp burst of our distinct accent causes
    smirks on the faces of storekeepers from the Jersey Shore to the Santa Monica
    Pier to Istanbul. Everyone in America has an Irish Uncle from Southie, an
    Italian sister in law from the North End or a “Yankee” neighbor in a Bruins jersey
    to call their own. Most every foreign official, leader and head of State claim to have
    “studied in Boston”. So many people around this country and the
    world share a common thread to the Birthplace of America. Ours is a city that
    people just want to identify with, no matter where they are from.

    Today, Patriots Day, is a day when the firm roots of our
    beloved Hub were poisoned by the same terror and horror many other wonderful
    cities around the world have endured time and time again. The unspeakable
    violence shakes us to our cores and shatters the calm of a pristine Spring day
    into tiny pieces. Here, just down the road from the Shot Heard ‘Round the World,
    on the day we celebrate farmers and laborers who picked up arms against
    tyranny, we join New York, DC, Atlanta, London, Tel Aviv, and many others on a
    dubious list of great cities that have endured bomb attacks in recent years.

    I, like many, am still in shock. Processing the video footage on my Boston news
    station as I type this, I think about how it must have been in Manhattan that terrible
    day when the buildings came down. For me, the visuals from cameras at the Finish

    Line are palpable. I took the T out to Northeastern from my office on Summer

    Street for years, passing under the blast site on Boylston hundreds of times without

    ever pondering violence or chaos. My Mother worked just blocks away, helping the

    people of Boston with their welfare claims. My Grandfather worked just across the river in Cambridge,
    making the wire and cable that birthed the communications hub of Boston. My Great
    Grandmother worked for Jordan Marsh at Downtown Crossing. We watched Championship
    parades for our sports heroes pass through the grand streets. We listened as Fiedler’s Pops
    rang in the Fireworks on the Charles. We ate at Santarpios, we celebrated at the Copley
    Plaza, we comforted at Mass General, and we cried at Trinity Church. This is my
    City, and I am enraged. We are all enraged, and there is nothing we can do but
    wait, just like New Yorkers had to wait, just like Londoners had to wait, just
    like Israelis had to wait. Wait for word of safety, for some sign of normalcy
    to return, and, wait ultimately, for revenge and justice. Waiting can take a
    very long time.

    For some, the waiting is already over. When their souls left
    their jubilant forms on Boylston Street today, the fallen had the waiting taken
    away from them. For the surviving injured and the loved ones of the fallen, the
    waiting will be far more challenging. The scars on those who survived and
    witnessed the horror of today’s events might never be cured by waiting, but
    they will wait as well. For the rest of us, we can sit, contemplate, pray, and commiserate.
    We can comfort and proclaim, denounce and accuse. We will mourn and we will suffer denial.
    Yet we wait. We wait for our first responders and political leaders to plan, to
    organize and to act. We wait for the good and the just to ferret out the evil and
    corrupt. We wait for the news of the dead and wounded and the recoveries and
    the triumphs and the stories of heroic deeds. We may never know why, or how, or
    who. We wait to watch the Bruins game, wait to go downtown for dinner, wait for
    our trains, our taxis and the traffic jams to get us home. We wait for our
    cellphones to work, wait for the crew to clean the blood off our streets, and
    wait for word from all of our loved ones. But above all, we wait to lay blame.

    We do not engage in inflammatory rhetoric or accusations. We do not jump
    to conclusions or cry for vengeance. We wait to lay blame, treating all
    Bostonians and visitors as Brothers and Sisters in this time of tragic
    violence. We have to be patient and thorough and diligent, kind and thoughtful
    and giving. We may have to wait an excruciatingly long time, but we do this knowing
    in our hearts that the waiting is not the hardest part.

  • http://classbravo.blogspot.com Mark Z.

    I was downtown in the afternoon after the bombing (full post here: https://zastrowphysics.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/my-friends-the-helpers/ ).

    At St. Botolph Street, a small crowd gathered as police unrolled yellow tape to block the route to Copley Square. Runners sat with their families against buildings, wrapped in their thermal blankets, unable to get to their hotels. Some snacked on energy bars; a group of Japanese runners talked quietly amongst themselves; some just gazed into space. Families evacuating their hotels emerged at ground level at Ground Zero, disoriented, the parents wheeling their luggage past silent runners on their way. Where they were going, if they had a place to go, I don’t know.

    One man was texting as he tried to walk past a policeman. “My family has no idea where I am,” he pleaded as the cop motioned for him to move away so he could put up yellow tape.

    “My family has no idea where I am, either,” replied the cop, gently moving the man aside.

    “What time will this area be open again?” the man asked, as I raised my camera to take his picture.

    “What time?” the policeman cried. “It could be weeks! Look around you! This is an emergency!” A crowd of photographers gathered and began clicking away. But it was not a nasty confrontation. The emotion in the cop’s voice wasn’t anger—only frustration, and sadness. The man slowly nodded and walked away.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kellythatcher Kelly Thatcher

    All I wanted to do was to cheer on the also-rans. Instead, I was blessed to be able to comfort — at least with hugs — the scared people. And to pray with them. And cry with them. And pray some more with them.