Indiana runners witness Boston Marathon explosion
Nearly 300 Hoosiers participated in Monday's Boston Marathon. Two runners from Indianapolis told Eyewitness News what they saw when an explosion rocked the area near the finish line.
Teresa Perez from Elwood had trained and looked forward to running in the marathon for the first time this year. Now, she's not sure she will ever do it again.
"Oh my gosh. It is just horrible. It's so sad. It's unbelievable," Perez said.
Her husband and daughter were in Boston, watching her finish the race just before the explosion.
"I was standing in line at the bus, which is a block away from the finish line, to get my bag when I heard the first explosion and smoke. Then I saw the second one not long after. No one knew what was going on until somebody came and said, 'Everybody needs to move out of here, because we don't know what has happened'," Perez said. "I am so thankful, because my husband and daughter were, they were a couple blocks away from the finish line. They had...thankfully were not anywhere near where the explosions where. They had already headed up and were by the bus where I was picking up my bag."
She said a phone call before the explosions reassured her that her family had moved from the finish line.
"My husband called me and said, this is before the explosion went off, and he said, 'We are standing behind your bus, instead of going to the family meet and greet area.' I said, 'Okay,' and I said, 'I am almost to my bus' and then I saw him and we waved to each other and then I was standing in line and in just a few minutes is when I heard the big boom and you saw smoke up in the air and just within a few seconds a second one went off and there was smoke again," she said.
After finishing her first Boston Marathon, Perez is now not sure if she wants to come back.
"I don't know, because it is really scary, because now it is a good possibility they will target big marathon runs like this," she said. "My stomach just hurts. It makes me sick."
Fishers resident Brad Baumgartner was also just a couple hundred yards from the finish line at the time of the explosion.
"I was just about to cross the finish line, a couple of hundred yards from finishing. Off to my left, I heard one large explosion. I saw smoke. I thought to myself, it's a finishing cannon, then I heard a second explosion and knew something was wrong," Baumgartner said. "Police started to fill the corral areas and directed us to leave immediately. A few of the runners (50-75 yards in front of me) didn't look like they were hit by anything. But the noise, they dropped to the ground."
Baumgartner said it appeared to him that all the injuries were spectators. He saw a small child quickly rushed to an ambulance.
His wife was on the other side of the finish line, excited to see him finish the race.
"She knew I was about to the finish. She was on the other side of the finish line. She talked with an ex-military person who could verify that it was a bomb blast. It's my first marathon. I'm not sure what I'm thinking right now," he said. "The police have done an amazing job moving people away from the scene. You're separated from your loved ones. It's surreal. I was asking people to use their phones. It's something I won't soon forget."
In Bloomington, Ben Bartley got a text message from his wife, Stephanie, who was running the Boston Marathon, about 25 minutes after the explosion.
"At 3:13, she said, 'Boston Marathon finish line blast. What is going on?'," Bartley said.
Stephanie finished the race about an hour before the explosions.
"I heard two blasts, rumors that a bomb went off. Have you heard anything?" Bartley said, reading his wife's next text message.
Bartley's father, Bill, runs The Running Company store in Bloomington. He went online to make sure his nine friends and customers all finished the race okay.
"It's pretty gut wrenching," Bill said. "Like everybody, you don't know what to expect."
"It's a relief to find out that the people that you know are there okay, but your thoughts go out automatically to those that that's not the case. Just trying to figure out what you can do to make sure everyone else knows that everyone is okay," Ben Bartley said.
Bartley was fielding phone calls and text messages at his father's store, letting friends and family know his wife was okay.
"Everyone was wanting to make sure everything was okay. So it's nice to know that everyone's thinking of you," Bartley said. "It was a relief that I could tell someone what's going on and they can kind of feel the calm that at least the people they know are okay and they can only put their thoughts to those that they don't know and the unknown of the situation."
Amanda Meyer kept updated on her friends in Boston via Facebook in Bloomington. She learned her friends, including Indiana University nutritionist and avid runner Rachel Noirot was unhurt.
"Well now, Chris, Steph and Rachel are all safe," Meyer said.
While talking with Eyewitness News, she heard from Noirot by phone.
"Just heard two booms," Noirot said. "Thunder or bleachers falling. Sounded pretty loud."
She was in a changing tent a block from the blast when people ran past toward safety.
Despite the tragedy, Noirot says she'd run the marathon again.
"I think so. It could happen anywhere. I wouldn't say it would keep me from running this again. Definitely be more aware what's around me," she said.
Meggie and Josh Dials flew back into Indianapolis late Monday night. Josh finished the marathon a half-hour before the explosions, his wife waited five hours near the finish line.
Neither saw or heard the blast, but saw the after effects in the city that virtually shut down for a short time after the blast.
Both say they thought security looked adequate before the race. In fact, Meggie was positioned roughly between the two bombs four hours before the race.
"I saw all the police officers, the security line up, literally in droves and we had literally 40 Boston police officers stationed right by the finish, looking into the crowd the entire time," Meggie said. "I even saw a couple K-9s. I was thinking at the time, for some reason they were looking for drugs. I never once thought the opposite."
She says she was standing next to children during much of the race and still wonders what may have happened to them.