COURSE OF EVENTS
Angela and her family stayed Sunday night at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge, not far from the marathon’s finish line.
She stepped off at 10:20 a.m. Monday for the 26.2-mile run. She persevered for four hours and 20 minutes, she said, then 150 yards from the finish line, fought to keep from collapsing.
“I had a hard time getting through the race,” she said, “and it took me a lot longer to finish.”
She crossed at 2:40 p.m. feeling sick and dizzy. Paramedics with wheelchairs were lined up waiting for runners like her who would experience fainting, heat stroke or other problems.
She was given water and a heat blanket and helped into a wheelchair and just as she was steered toward a medical tent along the street, she heard and saw the explosion.
The woman pushing her wheelchair asked if that was supposed to happen.
There was smoke and someone screamed, “Bomb!”
“You could feel the shake,” she said. “Almost immediately after that, there were sirens and people were diving for the finish line.”
Some of the injured were being put into wheelchairs and wheeled, bleeding, into the medical tent where Angela was.
“It was pretty scary,” she said. “I got out of the wheelchair at that point and told them they needed to help the other people. I was fine by then.”
The area was being evacuated and anyone who wasn’t hurt was trying to get out of the way.
FINDING HER FAMILY
While thousands struggled to clear the street and sidewalks for the emergency vehicles, Angela’s fear for her family’s safety was mounting. She contacted Matthew on his cell phone to tell him she was OK, and was relieved to learn he and the children were safe.
They were at mile 24 when she passed them running, and she was concerned that as they followed along, they might have been close to the blasts.
“They heard it, but they weren’t close enough to see anything,” she said. Their challenge then became to reunite.
Angela left the finish line area and “there were just masses of people trying to run.”
She ducked into a Marshall’s department store and waited with two other runners and a few store employees.
“We were locked in there for an hour and a half,” she said. She could send text messages to her husband but couldn’t call him because of the heavy cell phone call volume.
Matthew knew she was in Marshall’s, but she didn’t know where he and the children were, and she grew increasingly worried because another bomb had gone off.
Her family ended up safely across the street from Marshall’s, but Matthew’s phone battery had died and he couldn’t text her.
Then the emergency officials evacuated Marshall’s to conduct a bomb sweep and Angela was back out on the street in the frenzied crowd.
Mass transportation was shut down — no buses or subways were available.
She walked along in the mob with another runner for awhile, then got into a taxi without having any money and the driver took her to her hotel. There, a desk clerk gave her money to pay the fare.
“Everybody I encountered was very helpful,” Angela said. “It seemed like the city really came together for everyone. There were so many out-of-town people who didn’t know where they were going. It was complete chaos.”