Penticton’s Ellis Andrews avoided the tragedy at Monday’s Boston Marathon when two bombs exploded near the finish line.
Andrews, who completed the marathon in 3:36:39, was shaken up and described it as a “terrible situation.”
“We just missed it by 15 minutes,” said Andrews by phone from his hotel. “Thanks heavens. Close call. We went into Ben and Jerry’s and didn’t hear the explosion.”
Staying at the Revere Hotel Boston Common, located six blocks away from the explosions, Andrews and his friends watched the news coverage on TV in which he learned that evening two were killed and 73 injured. That total has increased to 176 injured, 17 critically injured and three dead, according to the Toronto Star.
“We have been asked to stay in our hotel and not to go out and for people to stay in their homes,” said Andrews, adding that the subway and airport was closed. “Cellphone systems have been shut down because the explosions can be set off by a cellphone.”
Andrews was to fly out of Boston Tuesday morning but said that remained to be seen.
“Just an awful thing and it’s certainly going to change all marathons around the world,” he said. “I don’t know how they would ever be able to police a 26-mile route and all the area around the finish line. It’s certainly changed the face of marathons.”
Asked about his emotions, Andrews said his heart rate went a little faster when he had heard more explosions could be expected. Andrews said bombs were set under the viewing area.
“Just as the people were about to cross the finish line, it went off,” he said. “People watching got the full blast of it. Some of the runners as well. A few minutes later another one went off. An awful thing to happen in a great, wonderful event and a fantastic city.
“We were fortunate we all came through the finish line within five minutes of each other,” said Andrews, who has participated in the Boston Marathon three times for the experience and atmosphere. “It takes time to get through, get your food, get your medal, pick up stuff. Almost 30 minutes. It was too close for comfort really.”