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At about 2:50 p.m. on Monday, April 15 two explosions were detonated by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (19) and his brother Tamerlan (24), killing three people and injuring over 140 during the 117th Boston Marathon.
Runners from across the globe congregated for the marathon, including members of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point community.
Tom Wetter, associate professor in the school of health promotion and human development, ran the Boston Marathon for the14th time, completing the race in just three hours and two minutes.
“I used to live in Boston and that’s how I got connected with the marathon. My wife, Annie, was at Tufts getting her post-doc and that’s where we got a network of friends to go visit and run the marathon with,” Wetter said.
Wetter finished the race about an hour and a half prior to when the explosions went off and left the event shortly after.
After finishing the race, Wetter waited for his friends to complete the race at the meeting areas before heading to the subway station, which was a mere block away from the meeting area.
“It’s typically loud in train stations so we didn’t hear anything happening. We found out about what happened from a text,” Wetter said.
Wetter said there was no immediate or chaotic reaction to the explosions for those in the train station. They found out just like everyone else who was following it on TV.
Trevor Darrow, a senior at UWSP, had a brother and sister-in-law running the marathon. When he heard about the explosions, he was shocked and worried about his relatives.
“I wanted to make sure my brother and sister-in-law were okay,” Trevor said. “The phone lines were down going into Boston, so we had to wait for him to get a hold of us. Cell phone reception could go out but it couldn’t go in, and he had to contact us through Facebook messaging.”
Trevor’s brother Justin said he finished the marathon at around 1 p.m., and his wife was waiting for him at the finish line.
“We were in a group with four other people, all of us running as teammates,” Justin said. “When we finished, we got texts saying congrats for finishing. When we got back to the hotel, I started getting texts asking if we were all right. I got messages from people I haven’t talked to since high school.”
Justin said he and his wife Carly left the finish line area about 20 minutes before the first explosion. He said they heard nothing about the attacks until they got to their hotel room.
“My initial reaction was why would someone do this at a marathon? Who was it?” Justin said.
Justin said Southwest Airlines was kind enough to move his and his teammates’ flight to Tuesday, instead of later in the week.
As more details about the surviving bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and the theories behind his motives come to light, Wetter contemplates the prevention of such terrors happening again.
“He is a freshman in college. As a teacher I want to know why he felt so unconnected to everyone else,” Wetter said.
Wetter plans on returning to Boston next year with his family to run the race again.
“A lot of people I’ve talked to since are not deterred from running next year,” Justin said. “I think people have been encouraged to run the marathon next year.”