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April 16, 2013

Suttons Bay man on Boston bombings: 'I'll never forget today'


My dad was having a really, really good run for most of the marathon. He was going at a steady pace, and was on track to finish near the top of his age group. However, close to the finish, something snapped in his leg, and he fell down. He finished the last mile of the race hobbling with a man on either side of him, one of them a runner who'd already finished the race, the other a Marine in full military gear. By the time he crossed the finish line, he couldn't stay standing, but still finished with a time of 3:40:17, an incredibly respectable number, especially considering he couldn't walk for the last part of it. He was given a wheelchair and taken toward the medical tent. One of the spectators happened to be a sports psychologist, and he helped him do some mindfulness exercises to relieve the pain. He was in the medical tent when the explosions went off. People began rushing in, and it was obvious pretty quickly that something was wrong. Some of you who have seen the horrible pictures being circulated around of the aftermath will have seen the photo of the man whose legs were mostly blown off; my dad saw him being taken in on a wheelchair. Nurses and doctors quickly cleared everyone out of the tent who wasn't bleeding grievously.

My mom and I were about a block away from the first explosion. There was a building in between, so all we heard was a huge noise and the ground shaking a little bit. We were in the family waiting area, wondering why on earth my dad wasn't there yet. With the first explosion, everyone looked around a little bit in confusion. When the second bomb went off about 10 seconds later, everything on the street went silent for a few moments. When you think about bombings or other disasters happening here, you usually imagine  an immediate response, with screaming and sirens and helicopters and everything like that. But this time, everything pretty much seemed to go back to normal, even though we were so close. We heard the first sirens almost 10 minutes after the blasts, and even then most people just assumed it was someone speeding or some random fight that broke out at the finish line.

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