Maine runners stunned by Boston Marathon explosions

Posted April 15, 2013, at 4:51 p.m.
Last modified April 16, 2013, at 10:13 a.m.
Rick Lyons
LINDA COAN O'KRESIK | BDN
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BOSTON — Approximately 202 runners from Maine signed up to participate in Monday’s marathon, according to the Boston Athletic Association website.

Of those runners, 146 of them were listed as having crossed the finish line, approximately 30 people were not listed as finished, and 27 did not start the race.

Andrea Hatch, a summer resident of Castine, was one those who did not finish the race. The 69-year-old said in a telephone interview Monday evening that she had run about 21 miles and was in Newton, Mass., when race officials started approaching runners behind her. Her initial response was to run faster.

Hatch said that officials told participants the race was being halted but not why.

“I decided to walk toward my hotel in Boston,” she said. “I saw a race official along the way and asked what had happened. He said there had been two explosions at the finish line.”

Hatch said that she has been overwhelmed with calls, texts and emails from friends and family in Colorado and Maine concerned for her well-being. She said that unlike some runners, she did have her cellphone with her.

“One friend said if was a good thing I’m a slow runner,” she said. “But, it’s scary. It makes you wonder if someone is targeting runners.”

It also was disappointing not to be able to finish the race, she said.

It could not be immediately determined if any Maine participants were hurt in the explosions.

After the bomb exploded, officials from the Southside School in Houlton, RSU 29 and the Houlton Police Department noted on their Facebook pages that students from Southside who were on a trip to Boston on Monday were safe and were not near the bomb site.

School officials were not immediately available for comment, but Houlton Town Councilor John White said that 16 students from the school had won a contest as part of an after-school program. They had intended to see the Boston Bruins take on the Ottawa Senators, but the game was postponed in the wake of the bombing, according to the Bruins website.

Students were on their way to Portland as of 5 p.m. and were going to return home later Monday night. A note on the Southside School’s Facebook page said that parents with students on the trip could call Ms. Lawlor on the school cellphone number listed on the the permission form if they had questions.

The school, which servers fourth- through sixth-graders from Houlton, Hammond, Littleton and Monticello, is closed for a week due to April break.

SAD 22 Superintendent Rick Lyons had just finished his 16th Boston Marathon when he heard the explosions.

“They were these horrendous explosions. The best way I can describe it is like at the airport when you hear a sonic boom from an airplane times 10,” the Hampden resident said in a telephone interview from the lounge of the Boston Marriott Copley Hill, where he is staying with his wife, Patricia.

“It was unbelievable. As a matter of fact, I just came down in the elevator and a guy says that the windows actually vibrated because we’re only about 1,000 yards from the finish line,” Lyons said.

Lyons said he completed the Boston Marathon about 2:10 p.m. and had met his wife at their prearranged rendezvous spot at Boston Park Plaza, about a block away from the finish line.

The blasts came about 15 to 20 seconds apart, he said. And then “complete pandemonium.”

“We got back to our hotel at about 3 o’clock. Obviously, we knew something was going on. And then about 10 minutes later, the hotel [staff] sent all the people to their rooms and shut down the restaurant and the lounge, everything.

“I’ve run the Boston Marathon 16 times and the typical finish [has] people very euphoric, very happy and so on and so forth. And then when I saw it on the news, it was almost surreal because it was right at the finish line where the bomb went off. It actually pushed the runners off the road,” he said.

“So having just gone over that exact spot about 40 minutes before you kind of obviously say, ‘Wow, this is unbelievable.’”

As he spoke, Lyons was sitting in the hotel’s lounge waiting for the restaurant to reopen.

“I would say people are very cautious, very concerned,” he said. “They’re fixated on the TV. That’s all that’s on the TV. It’s almost like the integrity of the event has been taken away.

“If you’ve ever been to the Boston Marathon, it’s a very euphoric event. Thousands and thousands of people. And that’s kind of lost in this unfortunate situation. So many people lost their lives. And I think they had 58 serious injuries — very, very severe injuries. That really overshadows the event itself,” Lyons said.

CORRECTION:

An earlier version of this story contained a quote from White, '“They’re all accounted for,” he said.' This was written in as an editing error.

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