April 16, 2013

Central Mainers grateful for safety after Boston Marathon explosions

Gov. Paul LePage sends 'thoughts and prayers,' says Maine ready to lend a hand

By Keith Edwards kedwards@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

and Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

and Rachel Ohm rohm@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

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.

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Seth Hasty ran in his second Boston Marathon on Monday. Hasty had finished the race and was at a restaurant about a quarter-mile away from where two explosions, near the finish line, took place, killing at least two people and injuring dozens more, he said in a cellphone interview.

Staff file photo by Joe Phelan

click image to enlarge

Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston on Monday, Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts.

AP photo

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“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.”

(Continued on page 2)

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