Arne Koch of Waterville had finished his first Boston Marathon and Paul Josephson of Waterville considers himself lucky that a calf injury forced him to drop out of the Boston Marathon around mile four on Monday.
“I sense I would have finished around the time the explosions happened,” said the 58-year-old professor of history at Colby College.
In the aftermath of the events on Monday, Josephson said he has been inundated with emails and text messages from friends around the world asking if he is okay.
“It is a dreadful thing and there are so many people concerned. The impact is far and wide,” he said.
Josephson has run 12 Boston Marathons and was planning on completing his 13th when a calf injury forced him to drop out. He said he estimates his time would have been around 2:50 had he finished, which would have placed him at the finish line around the time of the explosions, which occurred just before 3 p.m.
“It’s definitely scary. Everyone did their best in dealing with it,” said Josephson.
Many runners were unable to retrieve their belongings including car and hotel keys after the race, he said.
“It’s minor in comparison to the injuries and deaths, but there was trauma for everyone there,” said Josephson.
As he continues to run, Josephson said the events on Monday will be on his mind.
“It’s something I do everyday but at least for now I won’t be able to do it with a smile. I don’t think runners can feel anything but shock and dismay right now,” he said.
‘It was surreal’
Joe Bertolaccini had just finished the Boston Marathon when he heard a loud noise from just a few blocks away.
“We didn’t know exactly what was going on and everything got really quiet in the aftermath,” said Bertolaccini, 46, a Winslow resident.
Bertolaccini was one of 202 Maine residents registered for the Boston Marathon, where two explosions that are still being investigated by police, occurred on Monday. According to the website of the Boston Athletic Association, the sponsor of the race, 146 of those crossed the finish line, while 36 did not finish and 20 did not start.
For many runners in the area and their families the race, usually a celebration of joy and months of training, was overshadowed by the tragic events that took three lives and left more than 140 others injured.
Bertolaccini, who has run six Boston Marathons, was in a waiting area where runners meet their families when the explosions on Monday happened. Initially he said he thought the explosion was part of construction on a nearby building, but when he heard sirens it became clear that something was wrong.
Bertolaccini said he was able to find his wife and two daughters about 20 minutes later and that the family was able to safely make their way to his daughter’s apartment near Northeastern University, about a mile from the marathon finish line.
“It was surreal. Everybody was on their cellphones trying to figure out what happened and information was slow coming,” he said.
Before the race Bertolaccini had already decided that Monday’s marathon would probably be his last. He has been running marathons for about 20 years.
“I will continue to run but it is a lot of work and a lot of training,” he said on Tuesday.
For those that do plan to run next year, Bertolaccini said he thinks it will be a challenge for race officials to build back the confidence of runners.
“I think it will be a challenge to really convince people that it is a safe and secure venue,” he said. “It’s tragic that Monday had to be overshadowed by this. Definitely the thoughts and prayers of my family are with those that were injured.”
‘The exact spot’
Attorney Walter McKee of Hallowell, and his daughter Kate, 12, a runner from Hall-dale Middle School who had run a local race on Sunday, left the finish area of the marathon 90 minutes before the explosion.
They left because of the crowds.
“We left and we caught it on the radio coming back and thought, ‘We were just there,’” he said Tuesday. “We were in the exact spot of explosion two. We were watching the leaders and after a while decided it was too crowded, so we left. It was hard just to move on the sidewalk near the finish line.”
‘It seemed like a movie’
A Randolph man who participated in Monday’s Boston Marathon was safely away from deadly explosions Monday near the race’s finish line, and Central Maine residents expressed relief their relatives had escaped injury in the explosions that wracked an area near the finish line.
Seth Hasty, of Randolph, was in a restaurant in Copley Square, about a quarter-mile away from the first two explosions, with his son, Abe, and wife Brianne, he said in a cellphone interview.
Hasty was looking forward to a good meal after finishing the marathon, he said, when he heard there had been explosions and people were evacuating the area.
“I grabbed my 2 1/2 -year-old son and we took off in the other direction,” Hasty said. “People were walking around, crying. It seemed like it was pretty bad. It seemed like a movie.”
He said at first they thought a gun had gone off but then saw updates online telling people to get out of Copley Square as soon as they could.
A friend came and picked them up and drove them away.
Hasty, 33, said he had finished the race, gone back to his hotel and showered by the time he’d heard of the explosions.
Hasty said he had been texting and phoning people almost nonstop after the incidents, making sure others he knew were in Boston for the race were OK. He said everyone he’d checked with so far was safe.
‘He’s a pretty stubborn bugger’
Jill Maxwell, of Pittsfield, said her husband, Bruce Maxwell, had finished the marathon and was back in nearby Hopkinton, Mass., by the time the explosions occurred.
“We were very, very happy when we heard from him,” she said.
A violinist and chairman of the computer science department at Colby College in Waterville, Bruce Maxwell, 44, was driving to Colby Monday evening from Massachusetts to attend a Colby Symphony Orchestra practice, despite having run a marathon, according to his wife.
“He’s a pretty stubborn bugger,” she said.
This was his third time running in the marathon, she said.
She said she spent much of the afternoon texting, calling and receiving calls from concerned relatives.
“A lot of people were trying to call Bruce and were not able to get him,” she said.
‘She said it was very, very scary’
Thorndike resident David Leaming’s adult daughter, Rebecca Leaming, originally of Thorndike and now living in Falmouth with her husband, Ryan Burke, was running in the marathon and had made it as far as Chestnut Hill, about five miles from the finish, when the race was canceled and the runners were diverted away from the scene of the explosions.
Leaming said he hadn’t reached her directly early Monday evening but had spoken with Burke, who was just around the corner from the finish line when the explosions went off and who said Rebecca was OK, and not near the finish line.
“She said it was very, very scary,” David Leaming said.
A Morning Sentinel photographer, Leaming said Burke described the scene as chaotic, and that he planned to walk six miles to be reunited with his wife.
Leaming said Burke told him that after trying to get a cab for about an hour, he finally got one and found Rebecca, although it was hard to leave the city because the traffic was so heavy and the public transit system had shut down.
The couple finally got to their car and by 7 p.m. were driving back to their home in Falmouth, David Leaming said.
“She’s OK. She’s bummed out and scared,” he said. “She said, ‘Thank God I’m a slow runner.’”
‘Horrific act of violence’
Gov. Paul LePage, in a statement, said Maine Emergency Management Agency Director Rob McAleer was monitoring the situation and the MEMA staff was on standby in case it is called to assist.
“It is a very sad Patriots Day in Boston,” LePage said in the statement. “Ann and I send our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of those who were killed and injured in today’s horrific act of violence. For the many Mainers in Boston today, we hope you are safe.”
LePage said Boston officials are calling this an ongoing event, and he urged Mainers to listen to the guidance of Boston officials who continue to work on the scene. Families who may be looking for loved ones may call 617-635-4500. Additionally, people who saw anything and has information that may lead to an arrest, they are asked to call 800-494-8477.
Shock and sadness
Members of Maine’s congressional delegation, including U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, also expressed shock and sadness at the apparent act of violence at the Boston Marathon.
“As members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, we will be continually updated of the situation,” King and Collins said in a joint statement. “In the meantime, initial press reports that multiple improvised explosive devices may have been involved at this high profile national event bear the hallmarks of a terrorist attack.”
The Rev. Jim Gill, of St. Andrews Episcoal Church, which meets at Winthrop Friends Center Church on Route 135 in Winthrop, said the church was open Monday evening for anyone who wished to pray for the victims of the Boston bombing.
Keith Edwards — 621-5647
Rachel Ohm — 612-2368