Where? Boston, MA
What started as a lovely Marathon Monday ended in something I would never have imagined happening in Boston.
I watched the elite finishers of the Boston Marathon from my roof in Back Bay, right where Commonwealth Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue intersect. The runners only had about a half mile to go before reaching the finish line in Copley Square.
Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia won first place in the male division with a time of 2:10:22, while Rita Jeptoo of Kenya won first place in the female division with a time of 2:26:25.
A beautiful Marathon Monday.
View of the last half mile of the Boston Marathon from my rooftop, with the Boston Police clearing the route for elite runners.
Elite Runner Rita Jeptoo – Boston Marathon 1st Place Winner (Female Division)
Elite Runner Lelisa Desisa – Boston Marathon 1st Place Winner (Male Division)
After the elites passed, I decided to grab lunch and go for a run. I then considered heading to Marathon Sports for a commemorative Boston Marathon shirt or jacket. I didn’t expect to meet a scene of chaos from Boylston Street, only a few blocks away from home.
I was on Newbury Street when a large mob of hectic people ran onto the street, some sobbing, others yelling confusedly. Boston Police officers were shouting at us to get away from Boylston Street. Friends and family started calling and texting me, asking if I was alright, if I had been near the bombings, or if I knew anyone who had been hurt. After navigating through the alleyways of Newbury Street, I finally returned to my apartment and was able to fully process what had happened.
Near the marathon’s finish line tent on Boylston Street
Parallel to the site of the first bombing
Marathon runners who were finishing their last half mile were being stopped and re-routed in front of my apartment. Many of them walked or jogged in circles until their pace watches read 26.2 miles, so they were able to complete the marathon mileage. As they discovered the grim news, the runners were worried that their families had been waiting for them by the finish line and were hurt. My neighbors had cases of water and were handing bottles out to the marathoners from our front yard.
Runners were stopped outside my apartment at the Comm/Mass intersection
Runners and spectators, waiting for instructions from the police and marathon workers on what to do and where to go
A SWAT officer behind my apartment. Armed men were outside all night.
Words cannot explain how horrible and helpless this feels. I don’t know how to speak or write about it. My heart, and the hearts of other Bostonians and people around the world, go out to the victims and their families.
It’s a surreal experience to know that I could have been there, that I would have been there, in just a few more minutes. Throughout my six years in Boston, I have never seen this city pull together as a community more than it has during this tragedy. Yesterday, President Obama called Boston and its people tough and resilient. That is certainly the truth.