By Kristin Bednarski
More than 10 local runners were competing in the 117th running of the Boston Marathon April 15 that took a tragic turn when bombs went off near the finish line more than four hours after the event started.
Runners from Loveland, Milford and Batavia were registered for the event, including former congresswoman Jean Schmidt, of Miami Township.
Schmidt finished the marathon in just under four hours, and she said she was waiting for her twin sister, Jennifer Black, to finish the race.
“I was at the finish line,” Schmidt said. “I crossed 13 minutes before the bomb went off.”
Schmidt said knew her sister would be crossing pretty soon, and she borrowed someone’s cell phone to call her husband.
“I saw the first bomb go off,” Schmidt said. “I was in shock. The second one went off and I ran in the other direction.”
Schmidt said after she started running away, she remembered her sister and began to try to find her.
“I saw things I should never have seen,” Schmidt said about the aftermath of the bombs.
She said thankfully, help was nearby because of the nature of a marathon.
“The blessing was, at the finish line there was a medical tent,” Schmidt said. “There were a ton of medical personnel. Those people were taken care of immediately.”
She said it was hours before she heard from her sister, and she eventually heard from everyone in her group including her cousin and running partner.
“Everyone was fine,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt said she was thankful for the staff at the Marriott hotel where she was staying.
“We weren’t allowed to leave our hotel,” Schmidt said. “They fed us, they waived fees for hotel phones.”
Schmidt said she has run 99 marathons in her life and she never expected something like this to happen at an event.
She said her initial thought after the bombs went off was that it was an act of terror, either foreign or domestic.
“People do that at a finish line to make a statement,” Schmidt said. “The cameras are there, it is going to go viral and international, and that is what they want.”
Schmidt said she believes the culprits of the bombings will be caught, and she hopes that everyone in Ohio will continue to pray for the victims.
According to national news reports, as of April 16, three individuals were dead as a result of the bombing and more than 100 people were injured. The investigation in ongoing.
The Boston Athletic Association released a statement about the bombings Monday evening.
“Today is a sad day for the city of Boston, for the running community and for all those who were here to enjoy the 117th running of the Boston Marathon,” the statement said.
The statement said the athletic association is cooperating with city, state and federal law enforcement officials.
“We would like to thank the countless people from around the world who have reached out to support us today,” the statement said.