|Ohio runners recall Boston Marathon blasts|
|Written by ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, Associated Press|
|Monday, 15 April 2013 20:08|
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Several Ohioans who ran in the Boston Marathon on Monday heard the loud explosions near the finish line that authorities said killed two people and injured more than a hundred.
Tina Husted, the wife of Ohio's secretary of state, had finished the race and was sitting in a van about a block from the marathon finish line when she heard a "very, very loud explosion."
"All of a sudden we heard this huge boom, and the van shook," Husted said. "And I said to the lady next to me, 'That sounded like a bomb.'"
Husted said they sat there for a few minutes and saw "mass chaos" — emergency personnel headed toward the finish line, people running away from the area and some injured.
It's the second time Husted has completed the Boston race. She's a near-elite runner who started with the other top female runners. She said she'll have to think about whether she'd run the race again.
"It's just terrible," she said in an interview while waiting for her flight to take off from Boston. "It's just unbelievable that something like this would happen to such a positive event."
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty also ran and wasn't hurt, spokeswoman Maria Russo said.
Joe Fung, manager of the Cincinnati-based Running Spot store, said most of the roughly 20 runners with a group associated with the store had been accounted for.
Darris Blackford, director of the Columbus marathon, had finished the race about an hour earlier and was in his hotel room overlooking the finish area when he heard the explosion and saw the smoke billowing. His wife, Star Blackford, finished about ten minutes before the bombs went off.
"I'm disappointed that it comes to a point where apparently there's no honor among anything anymore," Darris Blackford said. "I don't know what to make of it except it's just people taking advantage of innocent lives, literally innocent lives, doing nothing to harm anyone."
Blackford said he's already thinking about possible beefed-up security at the Columbus marathon in the fall, which attracted 18,000 runners and walkers last year.
Organizers of Cincinnati's Flying Pig Marathon next month and the U.S. Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in September said that their thoughts were with the Boston runners and indicated they'll review security for their own races in the wake of Monday's events.
Amy Biondi-Huffman of suburban Columbus had finished the race and was picking up her bag from a bus about a half mile away when she heard the explosion and saw the smoke plume which reached about five stories. She was with a group of about 20 other runners from the Columbus area, all of whom are fine. The attack won't dissuade her from future races, she said.
"You can't live your life in fear," said Biondi-Huffman, 43, a commercial general contractor. "You have to go out and try and do things and that's what marathoning is all about — living your life."
Runner Ladd Clifford agreed, saying he has plans to run a marathon next month in Cleveland and this fall in Akron. The Medina resident finished running about 15 minutes before the explosions and immediately thought of a terrorist attack. The 10 runners he traveled with were all fine, though at least one was stopped by authorities with a mile to go.
"There's nothing you can do about nuts like this except take your chances and hope it doesn't happen again," said Clifford, 45, who work for 3M.
Cleveland's police division increased downtown patrols Monday night, deployed its canine unit and put its bomb squad on stand-by.
Details of the situation in Boston were being monitored by Ohio's three fusion centers in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, which are resource- and information-sharing centers that evaluate potential threats, said State Highway Patrol Lt. Anne Ralston, a spokeswoman for both the patrol and Ohio Homeland Security.
Associated Press writers Dan Sewell in Cincinnati, Kantele Franko and Ann Sanner in Columbus and Thomas J. Sheeran in Cleveland contributed to this report.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.
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