Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Local runners safe after explosions

by TONY COCCAGNA tonyc@indianagazette.net on April 16, 2013 11:10 AM

Scott Bowman was still shaken, still plucking shrapnel from his hair, still struggling to hear out of one ear hours after two deadly explosions rocked the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon.

Bowman, an Indiana resident, estimates he was no more than 30 feet from the blasts after he and Cathy Swauger finished the race and were waiting near the finish line to greet their spouses, who were still on the course.

“It was just so loud and just blew us over,” Bowman said by phone at 7 p.m. Monday evening, about four hours after the terrorist attack that killed three people and wounded more than 125.

“People were running away and I looked back and there was just blood everywhere. The only thing protecting Cathy and me — and I hate to say it — was a couple more people. I turned around and saw a leg, and it wasn’t attached to anything. Thank God we weren’t a little closer.”

Bowman’s and Swauger’s first thoughts were for their spouses, Aileen and John. Runners still on the course were rerouted away from the finish line, so they spent 90 frantic minutes trying to track them down.

“All I could think of was Aileen trying to cross right there,” Bowman said. “We couldn’t find them and they couldn’t find us. We eventually found the hotel where they were rerouted to, but when we got there, they had sent them somewhere else because they found another bomb there. We eventually met up. Poor Aileen, she was crying.”

Bowman said his wife was about a half-mile from the finish line and Swauger about another half-mile behind her when the bombs went off.

“All I can tell you is I’m glad we’re OK,” he said. “They were still on the course, and we were going to walk down about another 100 feet to wait for them, but we decided to stay where we were. Had we walked down a little further we would have been even closer. Right away we knew it was a bomb. We knew right away it was two bombs.

“When you look at it on TV and see all those flags, seven or eight flags down, that’s how close we were. I still have shrapnel in my hair, and I’m still having trouble hearing out of my right ear. There was some really serious stuff. It’s sad.”

The Bowmans, Swaugers and Mike Hodak, all members of the Indiana Road Runners Club, made the trek to Boston to run in the annual race. Hodak had already finished ahead of Bowman and Swauger.

“I feel bad for the victims,” Bowman said. “It’s senseless. It’s a shame somebody had to do that. The training involved for all these athletes, it’s just a shame. I feel bad for the victims and their families.”

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April 16, 2013 11:05 AM
Boston's beloved day dissolves in chaos, tears
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