Philadelphia runners shaken by Boston blasts

April 16, 2013 3:39:38 AM PDT
Runners in Philadelphia were left shaken by the blasts at the Boston Marathon that killed at least three and left dozens of others injured.

RELATED: Google 'Person Finder' for Boston Marathon Explosions

Action News has learned more than 500 runners who took part in the marathon were from our area: 374 from Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, 81 from South and Central Jersey, and 63 from Delaware.

Philadelphia runner Susan McGarry finished the race 9 minutes before the blasts went off.

She told Action News she was getting her blanket and medal when she heard the blasts and saw smoke.

McGarry and several others continued to walk away from the scene.

She says she didn't really know something was terribly wrong until she made it back to the finish line.

"It was just chaos; it was like a stampede coming towards. I looked at someone and said 'what's going on?' They said, 'they told us all to run.' Everybody's running away from the finish line area," McGarry said.

McGarry also said that Bostonians were coming up to her and apologizing for what happened.

They told her this never happens in Boston.

Another racer, Doug White with the Delaware Sports Club, ran his 40th and final Boston Marathon today.

He told Action News he was 6/10ths of a mile away from the finish line when everything stopped.

"Everyone came to a halt like on I-95, heavy traffic, of course, nobody knew. Nobody knew for about 15 minutes. The only thing you knew was there were ambulances and fire trucks and every kind of cop car in the world running all over the place. We didn't know what happened," White said.

White says the Boston authorities worked quickly to move everyone out of danger. Every member of his group made it back to their bus and they headed out of town. Jamie Pschorr, who usually produces Action News at 6:00, ran the Boston Marathon. She is now safe and talked to Action News.

"From a runner's perspective, it was a normal day," Pschorr said. "My parents are here spectating. They were about two miles from where the explosions were. They said there were police all around, and there were."

Jamie adds that she's registered for the Broad Street Run and she will compete.

At Philadelphia Runner, a store in Center City devoted to running, customers and employees were glued to the coverage coming out of Boston.

Many people there have family and friends in the race, and some have even run it before.

Ross Martinson, an owner of Philadelphia Runner, said the attack was very personal for runners around the world and here in Philadelphia.

"At that point people who have finished are still watching, waiting for people to finish. But, also, people are out watching all day, they're out at the bars all day, it's a big holiday," Martinson said.

Martinson also recall the police presence near the finish line when he last ran the Boston Marathon.

At Back on My Feet, a Center City non-profit organization that helps the homeless learn self-sufficiency through running, members were working the phones on Monday afternoon, trying to locate members who were in Boston.

Back on My Feet has 10 chapters all throughout the country.

"All of our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the Back on My Feet runners and supporters throughout the country who participated in the Boston Marathon," said Rachelle Damminger of Back on My Feet. "Right now we're working with all of our teams to make sure all of our runners and supporters are safe."

Two phone numbers have been set up in the aftermath of the bombings at the Boston Marathon. For families of possible victims, call 617-635-4500. If you saw anything: 1-800-494-TIPS (8477)