Local runners describe bloody streets of Boston Marathon after explosions

CINCINNATI - Several runners from Cincinnati had already finished the race when they heard an explosion they thought was a cannon.

Jim Wu, 37, of Hyde Park, was having lunch on the patio at his hotel in Boston that was two or three stories above where the explosion went off when he heard the first blast sound.

Wu said he was enjoying his lunch and having a drink when he heard the boom and thought at first it was a cannon that was related to the marathon. Then Wu said he saw glass flying.

When the second explosion went off he said he saw everyone start rushing around.

"I looked outside the window and next thing you know saw a pretty ugly sight," Wu said. "Blood pretty much covered the streets and saw some limbs, and at that point the hotel staff got us and told us to evacuate the building."

The race was at the four-hour and nine-minute mark, about halfway through until most runners were finished.

"You saw some bodies on the floor but then you saw missing parts kind of strewn all over the sidewalk," Wu said.

Scott Bihl, 39, was part of the same local running group that raced in the marathon Monday.

Bihl finished the race several hours before the explosions and was at his hotel when the blasts went off.

"We heard a lot of sirens and we are about a half mile from where it happened," Bihl said. "Turned on the news and learned of it that way."

Bihl said everyone he knew from the Cincinnati area at the marathon was physically fine. He reached out to the Running Spot and Fleet Feet in Cincinnati to make sure that all the runners affiliated with the stores that traveled to Boston were OK, and he was told they were physically fine.

For a full list of Cincinnati runners that participated in the Boston Marathon, go to http://goo.gl/sswnJ.

Many other Cincinnati runners were shaken by the experience, but as of Monday no one from the Tri-State was known to be among the dead or injured. Officials had not released a list of those hurt, however.

"I had already finished the race, gotten water and picked up the bag I had checked when it happened," said Jill Dann of Oakley.

Dann, 32, who was competing in her first Boston Marathon, was walking back to her hotel about 30 yards from the finish line when she heard the first blast.

"The first one, I thought something just fell and made a loud sound," Dann said. "When the second one happened about 10 seconds later, I knew it was a bomb."

Dann was worried about her father and two friends who were waiting for her back in their room at the Charlesmark Hotel. As she tried to make her way to the hotel, a throng of people running in the opposite direction hampered her progress.

"Everyone else was running toward us," Dann said. "I was worried sick. I could see the smoke coming from where they were staying, and the police wouldn't let me through."

Eventually, Dann learned everyone had been evacuated from the hotel, which gave her some peace of mind. It wasn't long before she located her traveling companions.

Jason Barhorst, 25, of Sidney, Ohio, and his friend, Tyler Frazier, 26, both had finished the race and cleared the area before the explosions.

"I left about 30 minutes before it happened," Barhorst said. "We all came in under three [hours in finishing times]."

It was Barhorst's fifth time running the Boston Marathon.

"It scared me. I've gone down that street, right where it happened, several times and I never thought anything like this could happen," he said.

"My wife had been thinking about running it for the first time next year," Barhorst said. "Now, I don't think that's going to happen."

Andrew Beiting, 27, of Pleasant Ridge also ran in Monday's Boston Marathon. News of the explosions caused some anxious moments for his wife, Susan, who remained in Cincinnati.

"He finished about 20 minutes before it happened," Susan Beiting said. "He sent me a text message that he's OK. He just said it was pretty frightening."

For some people, social media proved to be the best way to let people know quickly they weren't injured.
Chris Ferrone, 34, tweeted to his friends, "For anyone wondering… though I did run the Boston marathon today, I was nowhere near the explosions at the finish line. I'm at hotel and OK."

Both Dann and Barhorst are mulling whether they will run in another Boston Marathon.

"It does make you think," Barhorst said. "I will probably run the Boston again, but not next year. I'm not sure about [the] New York [Marathon], though."

Dann expressed similar hesitation.

"I think I would," she said. "It's a big event and all runners try to get here. I'm already qualified for next year." Dann added, "I will think twice, but I will probably go."

Jane Mays, a mom and dentist from Anderson Township, said she made it to the last half mile before a police barricade blocked her from finishing.

"There were people crying," Mays said. "I asked a police man and he said there were two bombs."

Mays first phone call after the explosions was to her husband.

"I would not be afraid to go back because the person who did this was obviously a coward because you know he's targeting women and children because that's who's there in full force," Mays said. "So yes, I would go back."

Dora Izquierdo, of Mason, said after she heard the second explosion she started running. She didn't see the explosions but instead saw chaos and emergency vehicles.

"I'm afraid, yeah, because it's a marathon," Izquierdo said. "It has nothing to do with nothing else and I have no idea if I will run the pig or not."

Erin Laury, a local mom of three boys, said she doesn't understand how someone could be so cruel and evil.

"You can't let one person destroy your dreams and tear you down and tear your country down and let them control your fears," Laury said. "You cant' do that. You have to live."
 

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