A local man who was watching the Boston Marathon on Monday left the finish-line area just 20 to 30 minutes before two explosions ripped through the crowd.
Loren Sutton, who graduated from Milford High School in 2003, said he and his girlfriend arrived just after the elite male runners started to finish the race. They were among several people from the area who watched or ran in the marathon.
“We were right next to one of the grandstands across the street from where the first explosion was,” he said by phone from Boston on Monday afternoon.
Melissa Raddatz, a graduate of Cooperstown High School who was running in her fourth Boston Marathon, said she finished the race about an hour and 40 minutes – in 3 hours, 3 minutes, 180th place among all women – before the first explosion and was recovering in a restaurant.
“I had friends who were (still) running it who were pulled off the course,” she said.
As first, there was a lot of confusion, she said. But then people started pulling together and set up “tip lines and things like that.”
“Everyone was just helping each other out,” she said.
At least five local runners were entered in the race, and their loved ones in New York spent some tense hours waiting for confirmation that they were OK. The tension was compounded by the difficulty of connecting to a Boston-area phone network that was overwhelmed by traffic.
“We were there for awhile, but I think it must have been 20 or 30 minutes before the explosion that we decided to head back,” Sutton said. “It’s hard to say for sure, because I’m still not sure what time everything happened. So we headed back, and we’re in an apartment a block or two away from the finish line.”
Sutton said he probably heard the blasts but was watching TV and didn’t pay attention at first. Then the sirens started.