A runner’s account at the Boston Marathon finish

SBJ/SBD had a personal connection to yesterday’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon. Megan Lombardo, 47, of Winnetka, Ill., and wife of SBJ staff writer John Lombardo, had just finished the race not long before the bombs went off. Following is her account of what happened:

“I had crossed the line, elated that I did a personal record [3:27]. You couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. I was floating in the crowd.

“I picked up my medal, got some water and food, and then got my bag out of the bus that in the morning had taken us out to the start at Hopkinton. Then I headed back to the finish line, toward to the hotel where I was staying. Everyone was milling around in a celebratory mood. Who could have imagined that I was about to enter into a bomb zone?

“I heard two loud blasts just as I had entered a retail pedway located near the finish line. I thought it was thunder, but that didn’t register because it was a nice day. People were screaming, telling us to stay down. It was pure chaos.

“I was with a friend who pushed me into a store, and with another eight or so strangers, we huddled into a bathroom. I couldn’t even tell you what kind of store it was. Everyone was panicky, calling family, but there was little talk among us.

“After 10 minutes or so, someone came and said there are more bombs and we had to evacuate. We were led out of the building through an underground exit. No one knew if more bombs were going off as we stepped out into a confused, chaotic scene.

“I ran back to my hotel, grabbed my stuff, and left on foot. The lobby was packed with panicked runners. I just wanted to get to Logan Airport, but the T was closed, there were no cabs, and the area I was in was completely shut down with police everywhere.

“It was surreal, and I was in a fog. Just minutes earlier, I was as happy as anyone could be. Then, in an instant, I was in a disastrous situation where I felt I had absolutely no control over the outcome.”

For more Boston Marathon coverage, see today’s Morning Buzz and Daily.
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