Timing was everything on Monday for Angela Taylor Lawrence.
The 31-year-old who grew up in Pulaski Township had trained for about four years before qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
This was her first time visiting a city bigger than Pittsburgh.
With 27,000 runners and more than a quarter-million spectators, the crowds were overwhelming and she was on a runner’s high.
Her husband, Matthew Lawrence, and three children were on the sidelines with thousands of others who were cheering on their loved ones.
But that contagious enthusiasm was marred by the events of the day that ended in tragedy, sadness and fear. Three people died and dozens were injured when bombs exploded near the finish line that afternoon.
Angela witnessed part of the terror, having finished her run two minutes before the explosions.
The Mercer resident recounted how the morning began with a grim reminder of the shootings in Newtown, Conn. The runners gathered before the race for a moment of silence for the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“That was on people’s minds,” she said, “the fact that there are horrible people in the world and they’re looking for a crowd.”
Monday’s weather was sunny and cool, perfect for running, and Angela wore shorts, a special fluorescent yellow tank top that memorialized a deceased friend, and a pair of running shoes she had bought at a specialty sports store in Canfield, Ohio.
This was her third marathon and she was fired up. She started with the Pittsburgh race, which she ran in three hours and 47 minutes.
Boston Marathon rules say a runner must run a marathon in three hours and 35 minutes or less to qualify.
The Erie Marathon in September was her ticket to go. She completed it in three hours and 26 minutes.
“I never thought I’d get to do it,” the raven-haired athlete said as she sipped on a bottle of spring water in a New Wilmington coffee shop.
“You have to be in good shape, and mentally, your body sometimes tells you to quit but you emotionally have to tell yourself to keep going.”