Doug Symonds ran a personal best marathon time Monday by roughly a minute, crossing the finish line at 3:00.46.
“I finished at 1:03 p.m.” he said.
Less than two hours later, Symonds, the cross-country coach for Pope John Paul II High School in Upper Providence, was eating lunch away from the Boston Marathon course with his parents and friends when texts started pouring in.
“I got 20 texts in two minutes asking if I was OK,” he said.
Initially, Symonds had no clue what was going on. He never even heard the explosions.
“Then I went on ESPN (on my phone) and they reported two explosions,” Symonds said.
Symonds wasn’t sure of any injuries or fatalities until he talked to The Mercury around 3:30 p.m. At that time, he was walking around a town square in Boston.
“Nobody seems to be very ‘Oh my gosh,’” around him there, Symonds said. “People are doing their own thing. It’s like it never happened.”
“I don’t know what it’s like two blocks from here,” he added.
Near the finish line, in a family meeting area, Gina Barusevicius, a Media, Delaware County, resident and nutritionist, described that scene.
“To me, it sounded like really bad thunder,” she said. “Five seconds later, the next explosion hit. I looked at my husband and he said, ‘Let’s get out of here.’”
Barusevicius, who’d finished the marathon about 45 minutes earlier, said her greatest concern was her 6-year-old daughter, who was there with her husband. The family piled into their car and left just a few minutes after the explosions.
Although much of the area where he was seemed calm, there were indications of an emergency, Symonds said.
“All the subways and things are closed,” he said.
Marathon Day in Boston, by all accounts, is a joyous, festive day. Symonds said it was amazing.
“The whole city is shut down. Everybody is out, schools are off, the amount of kids standing for everybody (along the marathon route) is awesome,” Symonds said.
Boston is in a decidedly different mood now, according to Symonds, but he said what happened couldn’t have been from a lack of security.
“Security was great. It was very well planned,” he said.
Even after the explosion, Symonds said officials seemed confident.
“They said they had a plan already,” he said. “They know what they’re doing up here.”
Tim Logue of the Delaware County Daily Times contributed to this report.
(Story from www.pottsmerc.com.)