Kevin Morrissey was a half mile away from finishing the Boston Marathon when he and the runners around him were abruptly forced to stop in their tracks on Monday, April 15.
“Marathon Monday,” as it is commonly called, is also Patriots’ Day in Boston. But around 2:50 p.m., on what is typically a joyous holiday, reports show that a bomb was detonated near the finish line of the race. Five hundred feet down the road, a second explosive went off. Both devices were reportedly constructed in pressure cookers and hidden in duffel bags.
“Everything just stopped,” Morrissey said. “There was a lot of confusion. Then it kind of sunk in that the race wasn’t going to finish.”
Morrissey, who is from Flushing, traveled to Boston with the borough’s Alley Pond Striders and was running the city’s marathon for the first time.
When he and the runners stopped, he first thought someone had fallen and was injured or that there was an emergency requiring vehicles to get through.
However, a nearby runner heard on his cell phone that an explosion had gone off at the race’s finish line and shared the news.
“We started to realize that this was something serious,” he said. “It was reminiscent of 9/11. The fire trucks just kept coming through.”
Morrissey’s thoughts turned to his wife, Deborah Stephenson, who had been waiting at the finish line since 10 a.m. in what she called “prime real estate.”
“We were sitting, and the first explosion happened. It sounded like a cannon,” she said.
After the first bomb went off, she left her spot and ran down the street. Although she heard people say the explosion came from fireworks for Patriots’ Day, she kept running. Somebody told her to run down the middle of the street and pushed her in that direction. She was across the street from the second bomb when it went off.
Stephenson continued to run until she reached a residential area a few blocks away.
“Then I just sat down and started shaking,” she said. “People came by with head bandages. People were running. Kids were crying. People were throwing up.”
She then went into a nearby department store, called her husband and said she was not leaving until he came to meet her.
After the pair found each other, they waited until they heard the Alley Pond group was okay, then “drove home immediately.”
The massive explosions resulted in three fatalities and over 180 injuries. A number of victims underwent amputations at Boston hospitals.
In his address to the nation the day of the blasts, President Obama said, “We still do not know who did this or why.” But he added, “any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.”
The Boston Police Department and the FBI are investigating the bombing as an act of terror. Officials urged spectators to submit pictures or videos they took during the race for inspection.
“Today, our cheers were turned to prayers,” Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said after the attack. “But Boston is strong and resilient, and we come together in times of need. We will get through this.”
As of press time, officials had made no arrests in connection with the bombings.