Three people were killed and over 170 were injured when two bombs detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Monday, April 15.
Josh Iverson, a Ricks College alumnus and Boston Marathon runner, was stopped five minutes before he reached the finish line.
“Nobody had any clue [what was happening]. Everyone was just in front of us. You couldn’t go any further,” Iverson said.
Iverson said that most people’s first reaction was anger, since no one knew exactly what was going on.
Once Iverson heard the possibility of a bomb scare, he knew the race was over.
“In my mind I kept thinking whether it’s a real bomb or a bomb scare, they’re not going to let this race go on. It’s such a huge gro … there was 10,000 people that still hadn’t crossed the finish line, I didn’t see how they were going to continue it,” Iverson said.
Nobody was able to send or receive messages easily since everyone was on their phones and it jammed the signals, according to Iverson. His phone died after he sent his wife a text to let her know he was OK.
“Some of the racers were really set because they had friends and family that had finished ahead of them, so they didn’t know what was going on with those people,” Iverson said.
Iverson said he was planning on meeting with a friend in front of the City Sports store who had dropped him off at the race, which ended getting it’s windows blown out as a result of the bombings. Their plans changed and even though it is scary to think that was going to be their meeting spot, Iverson said he considered their change of plans lucky.
Because Iverson was running on a charity team, he started later in the day, in the last wave of the race.
Iverson says he had been running on pace and was right where he wanted to be.
His family was waiting for him at mile 19, and he stopped to take pictures with them. Iverson said his wife was wondering why he was stopped for so long and urged him to get back into the race.
If Iverson hadn’t slowed down, he would have been at the finish line when the bombs went off.
“I would have been right there at the finish … it’s probably a blessing, ultimately, that I wasn’t there, because I would have been there right on — that would have been my time. I would have been there about … 10 minutes give or take and that would have been right when the bomb sposedly went off,” Iverson said.
Amy Worthington, a BYU-Idaho alumna, was watching the race and had been standing near the finish line for three hours when she became friends with some women visiting Boston on spring break.
Worthington didn’t want to leave because she had a friend who was running in the marathon and hadn’t come through the finish line yet. She knew she needed to leave when her new acquaintances left for lunch, but convinced herself to stay for a cole more hours.
“Ten minutes later they came back, and they were like, ‘Hey, we were walking to lunch and, you know, we were thinking we should invite you. Do you want to come with us?’ and there was … that moment of hesitation where I wanted to stay, but I knew I needed to leave,” Worthington said.
They walked a cole of miles north for lunch, and Worthington received a text from a friend letting her know there had been bombings at the race, asking if she was OK.
Worthington said it took her a minute to register what had happened, and that it didn’t make sense to her why anyone would bomb a race.
“All of a sudden I started to notice there’s hundreds of sirens. All of those things start to register, and you’re like, ‘I am living something you see in the news.’”
Later that night Worthington saw a photo in an online news story and noticed that where the ambulance was parked in the photo was exactly where she had been standing when she was watching the race.
“Had I stayed there, I would have been right where it happened. So, I’m grateful that those ladies came back, even though I’m sure they don’t know why they did,” Worthington said.
Monday was a state holiday for Massachusetts — Patriot’s day.
“It’s a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great American city of Boston has reflected from the earliest days of our nation. And it’s a day that draws the world to Boston’s streets in a spirit of friendly competition,” President Barack Obama said in a statement on Monday.
Worthington said she feels fortunate she is safe, but has a hard time understanding why someone would cause such an event to happen.
“It’s sad to know that … we can’t even congregate as a gro of people and celebrate anything great anymore … we can’t come together and celebrate great athletes of the world. It saddens me to know that there are people in this world that have intents of hurting people,” Worthington said.
Even though Iverson wasn’t able to finish his race, he said the fact that a tragedy took place was taking precedence in his mind.
“It’s sad that they take such an amazing event because people were there from all over the world — I mean you saw people from India and Italy and China and Chile, and they all come for this great race, and yet its somewhat ruined forever — not to mention the terrible tragedies of the people that died and were injured. So [it’s] no big deal not to finish the race when that type of thing occurs,” Iverson said.