by Bruce Strand
Nine marathoners from the Star News area ran at the Boston Marathon when the century-old classic race was rocked by two terrorist bombs Monday, leaving three dead and more than 170 injured, many critically.
First-time Boston qualifiers Amy Visci, 38, and Katie Eberley, 34, both of Elk River, friends and YMCA workout partners, were accompanied by their husbands to Boston. The Star News contacted them late that afternoon.
“It’s crazy, crazy. I can’t believe it,” said Visci. “Boston is in a state of panic.”
Visci finished with the runners clock at 3:34. The bombs went off with the clock at 4:09. This was at 2:50 p.m. EST.
“I was in the family pickup area, about a block away. There was a very loud explosion, and then you heard another one, not 10 seconds later.”
Fear and panic set in.
“People didn’t know what to do. Boston has a lot of tall buildings, but you don’t know if you should go in one or stay out of them. And people were looking for family members.”
Eberley said the clock was at 3:42 when she finished, less than a half-hour before the explosions. She and husband Mark were six blocks away. They saw smoke billowing, and people were running past them.
“Then we turned and started running in the opposite direction.”
The Boston Marathon is normally a glorious day for any runner, especially a first-timer, but Eberley said she has been “crying, off and on, all day.” She started to choke up as she spoke on the phone.
“My kids are at home, and I’m a nervous wreck. The city is in shambles … It’s a really scary situation. I just want to get home to my kids.”
The Visci’s rejoined their four children and the Eberleys rejoined their two children by Tuesday evening.
Eberley said she felt bad for the city of Boston, and of course the victims.
“This is such a momentous occasion for Boston. The energy was just amazing, and then you have something like this happen.”
Visci is a fitness trainer who operates The Studio in Elk River and helps at the YMCA. Eberley is current pursuing her masters in guidance counseling.
The Star News later interviewed Elk River teachers Tina Ostroot and Theresa Lensing. See their story in Sports, page 20. The Boston website listed these additional entrants from this area — Joni Busch, Sam Tabaka and Tracy Tabaka of Rogers; and Lynette R. Catapano and Jeff Rapacz of Otsego.