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Accounts from local athletes and friends and family of Boston Marathon runners

Post by Alexis Krell / The News Tribune on April 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
April 15, 2013 8:04 pm

Mayor’s hotline for families looking for loved ones: 617-635-4500.

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Tony Phillippi, the co-founder of the Tacoma City Marathon: He finished the race about 3:40 and had just returned to his hotel about a half mile away at the time of the first explosion. Seattle-area friends Steve Yee and Chris Warren are safe with him at their hotel at Huntington Avenue and Belvidere Street.

“They’re suggesting we stay in our hotel right now and not congregate on the street,” he said. “Down at the end of the street there are a ton of police. Our street is actually closed in front of the hotel.”

A mall across the road was evacuated, he said.

“We didn’t know what was going on,” Phillippi said. “It’s typical to hear an ambulance go by around a race this size, but the ambulances just kept coming and coming, and we still hadn’t heard anything yet. Then fire trucks, then SWAT teams. Then it came on the news. There’s still police and SWAT everywhere.”

He said the phone system there seems to be overwhelmed, and that officials are asking that people text, instead of calling.

As for what locals should know, he said: “Odds are that their loved ones are okay. I think people are just scared right now.”

People have been asking him if the Tacoma City Marathon will still be held in about three weeks.

“Yes. I think we will go on with the race.”

Photo courtesy Tony Phillippi, taken from his hotel room about a half mile from the Boston Marathon finish line.
Photo courtesy Tony Phillippi, taken from his hotel room about a half mile from the Boston Marathon finish line.


From Pacific Lutheran University’s Facebook page:
For the Lute community: Kirk Isakson (PLU videographer and avid runner) is okay. Neither Kirk nor his wife were near the blast at the Boston Marathon today, and apparently Kirk had already finished the race. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Boston community and the participants in the race today.

Shari Campbell in Boston said about 1:15 p.m.: Calls are not going through. Very sad. Our group, which included runners from Fleet Feet Sports in Tacoma and Bonney Lake, finished and left the area. We are all in shock. Our prayers are with the victims and their families.

Brett Wittner’s law firm, Kent & Wittner, said: the attorney from Fircrest is safe. He finished the race at 4:04.

Olympia’s Guerilla Running club said on its Facebook page: Please pray for the people affected by the explosions at the Boston Marathon. What have we come to?! Praying, praying. Craig, Josh, Bob B. and families are all safe. We are better than this! Send prayers, please send prayers.

Paul Morrison, owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Bonney Lake and Tacoma, said: “We just walked out of there before anything happened,” he said. “We escaped all the mayhem.”

Morrison left the finish line about 10 minutes prior to the explosions. He said he didn’t hear or see anything, and all of his close friends are accounted for and staying in their hotel for the night. He is with a group of 12 people with the Fleet Feet runners group, and said they are also accompanied by about 30 people in the Marathon Maniacs group.

Morrison said checking both groups’ Facebook pages and websites is a helpful tool for up-to-the-minute information on who is safe. “There have been new posts every three seconds,” he said.

Jules and Greg McLawsen, with the Tacoma Runners Club: By the time Jules McLawsen reached the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the atmosphere was peaceful. Finishing 3:35.18, celebratory crowds were cheering on finishers as they funneled in. After heading back to her hotel, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the famed race Monday, killing 2 and injuring at least 23 others.

About two hours after the winners finished the race, the first explosion occurred at Boylston Street, about three blocks from where McLawsen and her husband, Greg, were staying. Greg McLawsen said he didn’t hear anything from his hotel room, but was alerted by friends in Tacoma of the bombs. He walked toward to the finish line about fifteen minutes following the explosions, he said.

“When I walked up St. James there was a line of ambulances 2 blocks long all with their lights on,” Greg McLawsen said.

Jules McLawsen couldn’t believe that this race would be the venue for something so horrible.

“This is extremely sad,” she said. “I thought ‘at the end of a marathon?’ It’s really unbelievable and shocking.”

Micah Rice: The University of Puget Sound graduate and current Vancouver, Wash. resident, finished the race, his fourth Boston Marathon, in 2:52:45. He lives in Vancouver now and works for the Vancouver Columbian. He is a former News Tribune employee. He said on his Facebook page: “Just heard about the explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line. Absolutely sick to my stomach right now.”

Doug Carlyle: The Puyallup man had finished his first Boston Marathon about 15 minutes before the explosion, and said his wife and father had been looking for him across the street from the scene, but left about five minutes before the bombs went off.

He said the tragedy happened in a city of helpful, friendly people. He asked a Boston woman he bused to the start line with early Monday whether it was a hassle for the city to host the event, with road closures and other inconveniences.

“She said: ‘No, we absolutely love the marathon,’” Carlyle said. “This is a really big deal for this city, and it’s a celebration. To have something like this on this day … . It’s a very warm city, and this is really a sad situation for them.”

Nate Angelo: The University Place runner was in Boston with his father. He had finished the race for the first time and was in a mall nearby when he heard the explosions, his wife said. Both he and his father are safe, she said.

Running tally of runners registered for the Boston Marathon, according to baa.org athlete tracking:

Seattle: 25

Tacoma: 10

Olympia: 15

Puyallup: 6

Federal Way: 2

Bonney Lake: 3

Sumner: 1

Fife: 1

Spanaway: 1

Edgewood: 1

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