Two runners' happiness about their finishing times quickly vanished
For Justin Renz of Milton, Mass., and Mark Maggi of Cohasset, Mass., the excitement of setting personal bests at the Boston Marathon quickly turned to anguish and anxiety after a pair of bombs exploded near the finish line on Boylston Street just before 3 p.m., forcing the race to be suspended.
Maggi said he ran “the race of my life,” chopping more than five minutes off his previous best time at Boston. Maggi boarded a Green Line trolley to celebrate with family and friends in Newton. By the time he arrived, news was starting to trickle in about the terrifying events occurring back at the finish line.
“The mood definitely changed,” said Maggi, 29, who clocked a time of 2:42:25. “You feel a little bit selfish sitting there being pleased with your time when there are people that aren’t going home tonight. There is a sense of personal accomplishment or satisfaction, but I’d give that all up in a minute.”
Renz also set a personal best at Boston, shaving more than a minute off his previous best with a time of 2:41:55. He was running his fifth Boston Marathon for the Children’s Hospital charity. He was at the post-race reception for the Children’s Hospital runners in the Copley Westin Hotel when they were told to evacuate the building. The euphoria of running Boston and seeing his patient partner, Braintree’s Cameron MacPhail, view the race at St. Paul’s Church in Wellesley, quickly turned to anxiety.
“We were trying to figure out what was going on,” Renz said. “We left the building and the police said to leave the area. He pointed away from the finish line. The person I was with heard the loud booms earlier, but we had no idea what they were. It’s nothing that you expect. Then my phone started lighting up with emails and texts, asking if I was OK.”
Renz walked to South Station and rode the Red Line home.
“I was so happy to run a great time and to see my patient partner and then the Red Sox win in a walk-off and everything is great,” Renz said. “It’s such a great day for Boston, and now it’s a terrible day for Boston.”
Hope Rathnam, a 2006 graduate of Hingham High School, finished the race in 3:00:54. She remained with friends near the finish and was walking down Newbury Street when she heard the first explosion.
“Then we were told to evacuate the area,” she said. “I saw all the runners lined up on Commonwealth Ave. where they made them stop. We weren’t really sure what was going on.”
Rathnam initially had trouble locating members of her running team because cellphone coverage was cut in the area because of worry that cell service might detonate other explosives.
“It was really scary at first,” she said. “It was stressful, but eventually we made it out of there.”