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Originally published: 2013-04-15 19:47:23
Last modified: 2013-04-16 10:44:39

Locals among Boston Marathon runners

by Tom Mayer

Editor's note: This story was updated April 16 to reflect new information concerning the number of people harmed or killed by the twin explosions.

The aftereffects of two bombs that exploded and killed three and injured more than 150 people near the crowded finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday raised questions in the High Country almost immediately after the near-simultaneous detonations.

Dozens of runners from the Boone area were competing in the race, but although no names of the dead or wounded have yet been officially released, a local runner, who was not at the event but has connections to several local athletes who were competing, expressed confidence that no runner from the Boone area is among the people injured.
"I've talked to several of my friends, and I'm 99.9 percent sure that everyone from Boone that is up there is accounted for," said runner Ray Russell. "I have directly or indirectly accounted for everyone I know that is in Boston and they're all OK. I've talked to people from ZAP Fitness (which had a number of runners in the marathon). Everybody I know is safe, and I probably know 50 people who are in Boston today. The running community has a lot of camaraderie in it."

Because of that camaraderie, and because he has run the marathon twice, Russell said he was personally shaken by the news of the bombs that exploded at about 3 p.m.

"I've gotten no work done since about 3:19 (p.m.) when I heard about it," Russell said. "It really hits close to home, because I know so many people there. I was also looking at the pictures, saying 'I remember running in that spot.'"

The Boston Marathon traverses a "very traditional route," Russell said. That route winds up near Copley Square, and it was near there that the twin blasts took place within seconds of each other and about 100 yards apart, according to the Associated Press.

A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other explosive devices were discovered near the end the course. A fire that broke out in the John F. Kennedy Library didn't appear to be related to the bombings, officials said. Reports indicated that the White House was treating the attacks as an act of terrorism.

Russell said he has walked up and down the street near where the 26.2-mile course ends, "about 30 or 40 times." As of 7:30 p.m. Monday, no one had claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Russell, who ran the race in 2010 and 2011, said he wondered about the timing and location of the blasts, considering that they happened after almost 17,000 of the 23,000 runners had completed the course.

"It's pretty clear to me that whoever did this isn't a runner," Russell said. "The elite runners would have been finished way before these bombs went off. Plus, all of the paramedics and care personnel are (near the finish line) to treat people."

"It just doesn't make any sense," he said.