The Gazette spoke with 10 runners from Colorado Springs who finished the 2013 Boston Marathon before the bombs turned the festive day tragic.
Occupation: The 2013 Air Force graduate is in pilot training in Del Rio, Texas
Time in the marathon: 3:34:17
Location when the bomb exploded: Calite was on a subway, roughly 1 mile from the finish line. She had finished the race about 55 minutes before the explosions.
Status on returning: Though she would like to have returned for her third running, the schedule of pilot training would not allow it.
Memory: “The family we were staying with picked us up and they were like, ‘Let’s get out of here, there’s some crazy stuff going on.’ I remember thinking it was probably some local punk, some kid. I didn’t realize it was like a whole terrorist situation.”
Occupation: Stay-at-home mother of two young girls
Time in the marathon: 3:55:28
Location when the bombs exploded: Having finished her second running of the marathon just seven minutes before the explosion, Coady was about three blocks away in the finishers’ area collecting her bags.
Memory: “It was sort of a slow start, then it gained momentum quickly. First we saw three or four policemen heading toward the finish line. They looked very serious and it seemed like something big was going on. I’d say within a few minutes that escalated. As the runners who just finished or who were closer to the finish line than us, we could see that some of them were crying and were just physically shaken.”
Status on returning: “No, I’m not going back. I can’t say that it’s because of the bombs. I love to marathon and I’ve done that one twice and there are many others I’d like to do.”
Robin Krueger Romero
Time in the marathon: 3:39:21
Location when the bombs exploded: Krueger Romero was in the family greeting area, a few blocks away from the finish and heard and felt the explosions.
Status on returning: She registered to return this year, but a December car crash thwarted her training. She intends to run it again in the future.
Memory: “It’s kind of a zoo at the end and I had to go way to the end of the street to find my husband. So, I asked the guy next to me, ‘What was that?’ Because you could feel it. He said it sounded like it was a car explosion, like a car bomb. Nobody really knew.”
Occupation: Teaches economics/career and technical education and college and career prep at Sierra High School
Time in the marathon: 3:24:25
Location when the bombs exploded: Marty finished the race about an hour before the tragedy and was in a nearby building.
Status on returning: He’ll be returning this year for his sixth running.
Memory: “The response was immediate. I couldn’t believe all the cars that were going toward the finish line. All the cars and trucks and EMTs — it was like a war zone right there. I walked back to my hotel and they had heard the bombs go off at my hotel. I was really never afraid during the situation, but I was very concerned for the victims and the people of Boston. I was just so chaotic.”
Occupation: “By degree I’m a dietician, but I stay at home right now as a mom”
Time in the marathon: 3:36:49
Location when the bombs exploded: Neider was with Kerri Coady, about three blocks away from the finish line.
Status on returning: “I didn’t feel the need to go back this year. I felt other people needed to go back and finish what they had started — they needed that chance. Hopefully I’ll go back next year with more friends. I would love to go back.”
Memory: “There were so many emotions going on. When we got back to the hotel I saw my husband and my friend by the elevator. I remember walking to them and starting to cry. Even though I didn’t directly see it, it was very emotional.”
Occupation: Employed through the Air Force as director of research and communications at a space training center
Time in the marathon: 3:44:11
Location when the bombs exploded: Perez, who had finished about 40 minutes earlier, was at the corner of St. James and Dartmouth, so roughly a block away but with a line of sight blocked by buildings.
Status on returning: Feeling stripped of the true experience of running the Boston Marathon and enjoying the daylong celebration that accompanies it, she’ll be running again this year.
Memory: “It’s unlike any race I’ve ever run. I am not nervous about going back. They immediately took care of us. I never felt like I was in danger. I felt protected and safe.”
Occupation: Software engineer with Braxton Technologies
Time in the marathon: 3:40:26
Location when the bombs exploded: Having finished the race about 45 minutes earlier, he was already back at his hotel, the Intercontinental. He was in the lounge watching the Red Sox baseball game when his sister called from North Dakota, breaking the news of the bombing. The hotel staff changed the channels on all televisions almost immediately and Raymo and others sat and watched as the situation unfolded.
Status on returning: Though he had “every intention,” of running Boston this year, a knee injury sidetracked his training over the summer and he did not qualify.
Memory: “The people of Boston are very proud of that marathon, and rightly so. The place became instantly quiet after that. It reminded me of 9/11, quite honestly. It just had that eerie feeling after that disaster.”
Occupation: Owner, Rocky Mountain Rags
Time in the marathon: 3:35:00
Location when the bombs exploded: Shaner finished about 40 minutes before the bombs and had just returned to her hotel.
Status on returning: She had planned on running, but a move from Colorado to, of all places, Boston, has interrupted those plans.
Memory: “Our hotel was on lockdown that night, so we went and had dinner and walked around. It was creepy and the streets were empty, but we weren’t going to let some terrorist take away our freedom.”
Occupation: Living in Colorado while working on his dissertation as a graduate student in American history at Stanford
Time in the marathon: 2:45:14
Location when the bombs exploded: Spillman was on a subway bound for Cambridge.
Status on returning: He may run the marathon in the future, but with a busy spring he decided that would be one thing that he could do without.
Memory: “I got off the subway and I had a text from a friend who worked at a shop in Boylston, right near the finish, telling me not to come back toward the finish because bombs had gone off. That was pretty creepy because that was the only information I had.”
Time in the marathon: 3:20:27
Location when the bombs exploded: Weddell was back in his hotel room less than two blocks from the finish line, having finished the race about 40 minutes earlier.
Status on returning: “I was supposed to go and I had registered to go, but some things happened and I couldn’t fit it into my schedule.”
Memory: “Running the Boston Marathon is like a 26-mile celebration. It’s Patriots Day, the streets are lined with people having picnics, dressing up in costumes, there are kegs of beer on the lawns, it’s just a fun event. You finish, you’re happy about finishing and it’s just a huge level of enthusiasm. Then you walk downstairs after this and there are armored troop carriers and it was such an incredible contrast to when I had left the area prior to the bombings.”