April 16, 2013

April 15, 2013


I tried writing this blog post about a dozen times today. It wasn’t happening, thus the late post.

You probably already know I’m also a distance runner with a deep affinity for the Boston Marathon. For the past 20 years I’ve run the race, volunteered at the race or watched the race with camera in hand. The race is a part of me. So I take yesterday’s attack at the finish line very personally.

As you may know, I was at the finish line when the bombs went off.

When the first blast shook Boylston Street there was confusion. I turned and grabbed a couple of shots, not knowing what the plumes of smoke could have been. Within seconds, the second bomb went off. Then I knew — terrorist attack.

First responders were quick to converge on both bomb sites. Police started ripping the barriers down and moving spectators onto the street. Marathon volunteers, working security or in the medical tent, turned into emergency first responders, tending to victims and helping to direct spectators to safety. Confusion ensued when they tried to get people out of the way so emergency vehicles could get through.

Many of my friends were running the race yesterday, including a few of my regular training partners. Most of them were projected to finish around the four hour hour mark — around the time of the blasts.

After being ushered out of the area by police, I started looking for friends and making phone calls. I found two of my good friends who were unable to finish the race — They were running within 15 feet of the second blast when it went off. Thankfully, they were unharmed.

Tonight I’m grateful that all of my friends (runners, volunteers and spectators alike) are all accounted for. I’m also angry. Angry that the sport I love — the event I love was the target of cowards.

The attacks occurred four hours into the race. By then, the elite runners had given way to a steady stream of midpack runners and Boylston Street was lined their family and friends.

When I read that one of yesterday’s victims was an 8 year old boy, I was taken back to 1994, the first year I ran Boston. My wife Jean brought our two oldest sons into Boston to watch me finish. After I finished the race I put my medal around my (then) 4 year old son John’s neck. He looked at me and said, “I knew you’d win!”

Yesterday, as I walked through the crowd in the finish line area before the blasts, I saw a lot of little kids. Some of them wearing finisher’s medals.

Yes. I’m angry.

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  1. What a tremendous and moving account Bob! Very personal and at the same time also sharing the pain of others.
    The Boston Marathon was always a part of my life too. I grew up with it.
    It is such a sad and terrible tragedy that happened, but as with all things it’s good to see and hear about the many regular citizens, and of course first responders that rushed in without hesitation to give help in any way possible!
    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I’m very thankful that you came through this horrific event safely and were able to go home to your family!
    My prayers and heart go out to all those affected by this tragedy!!

  2. Bob, glad to hear you are ok as well as your loved ones. I can only imagine what that was like at the scene. So surreal. I still can’t fathom what would drive someone (or a group) to do such a horrific senseless act. I like to think there is a special place in hell for people who commit these acts. Thoughts and prayers for all those affected by horrible act.

  3. Hey Bob, glad you’re Ok. I think anger is the appropriate emotion. Some will sit around and wring their hands and wonder “why?” I personally don’t care why. I just want these animals eradicated. At the risk of jumping the shark and offending everybody, I have an observation. We now have a sitting president, who is pals with a known domestic bomber, Bill Ayers, who is also responsible for kicking off Obama’s political career with a fundraiser at his house. Sad but true. Again, glad you’re Ok.

  4. A very sobering post Bob, I cannot imagine going through that, glad to hear you and your friends are well, such a senseless act, take care, see you soon!

  5. I’m so sorry Bob but I’m so glad that you and your family and friends are safe. I’m flying to Boston on Sunday and I first heard of the bombings at work when I received an email travel advisory for Boston. I was shocked and saddened. I can’t understand what would drive someone to something so horrific. My heart goes out to the individuals that were hurt and killed and to their friends and families.

  6. Bob —

    Most excellent post.

    While we’re all angry about what happened, I can well imagine your level of anger as I read this post. This is an event that you dearly love, and somebody violated it. Were we only able to direct our anger at the perps, perhaps we’d feel that justice was served.

    I long and pray for the day that this sort of thing no longer happens.

    Sooo glad you’re safe, buddy. I’ll buy the next round of suds.

  7. Hi Mr. Lussier,

    Every year Patriot’s Day comes around, you’re always the first person I think of when I see the Marathon. I called Thom immediately when I heard the news, hoping you were a mile up in the air in the helicopter when the bombs went off, but it didn’t surprise me when I heard you were right in the thick of it, waiting for your friends. After being relieved to hear that you weren’t hurt, the heart-break of what had just happened began to set in.

    Many a beautiful day I’ve spent in the city watching the runners go past but never once in my mind did I ever think anything like this would happen. As much as this broke my heart to see something like this happen in my city, I can’t even fathom the anger and sadness you must feel.

    None-the-less, I know we won’t let this stop a wonderful 117-year-old tradition and if it’s possible, I bet next year they’ll beat the 1996 record for most runners entered.

    Glad to hear you’re alright and hope to see you soon.