From the Finish Line: Writer Whitney Dreier

Dreier initially mistook the sound of the explosion for thunder. But when she looked up at the sky, she didn't see any clouds.

Apr 16, 2013
Outside Magazine

In 2008 my husband, Matt, and I both ran the Boston Marathon. We didn't know each other at the time, so when we married in 2010, going back to Boston was on our list of things to do together.

Monday's was a good, quick race for both of us. I ran a 3:23:41, just 34 seconds off my personal best, and Matt finished in fewer than four hours—quite impressive considering he hadn't trained.

Just after I finished, we met up at the family meeting area, which is a block from the finish, and had been sitting there for 15-20 minutes when we heard this boom. I thought it was thunder at first. It was this really deep, rolling sound, and we all kind of looked at each other. Then we looked at the sky. There weren’t any clouds, so we made our way back to the hotel, about 10 minutes away.

As we got closer, we heard sirens, and there were helicopters and police cars and stopped traffic. Running a marathon always leaves things feeling a bit surreal, so all of this was particularly hard to process. It wasn't till we got back to the hotel room and turned on the news that we got the extent of it.

It’s kind of scary the impact this will have on future races. The London Marathon is next week and they’re already talking about lockdown security.

Marathons are a celebration—people work for months or years to prepare. There were 27,000 runners, the majority from out of town, plus their families at the race. A lot of hotels in that area have been evacuated, so they’re not sure where to go. Flights might be delayed. And there were some 13,000 people that weren’t able to finish today. It’s so sad to think that what was the culmination of so much work for so many people turned into such a nightmare.

Whitney Dreier is a freelance writer and editor based out of Los Alamos, New Mexico.