Reporting Kate Raddatz
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More than 500 Minnesotans were in Boston, to run the marathon. And some of them started coming back home Tuesday morning.
Many runners, who landed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this morning, were all wearing their Boston marathon jackets.
They said the plane ride home, was anything but quiet — as people were sharing their stories of the horror they saw at Monday’s marathon.
Mike Volker from Minneapolis had just finished the race — his 13th Boston Marathon — and said he was about a quarter of a mile away when he heard the first explosion.
When he turned around, he said he saw blood on the ground and people scrambling to get away from the finish line.
“Everybody just ran,” he said. “They got out of the stands as fast as they could but everybody just started taking off running except the ones that were hurt. They stopped the race, I think. You couldn’t get past mile 26. I think that’s where they stopped everybody.”
The runners said closing that mile off was very stressful for other runners coming in to finish the race that didn’t know what was going on — and that needed water and food to rehydrate after that long run.
Carolyn Powers, of Blaine, saw the explosion first-hand.
“Immediately, I saw that plume of smoke and it thought of 9/11, you know, just that white smoke,” she said. “It was just so scary and it doesn’t even seem like it’s happening and then I heard the screaming.”
Susan Vickerman, of Wayzata, said she felt the explosion in the ground below her.
“It was amazing because it just rocked the ground where I was at, I could feel it,” she said. “I turned around and I knew right away.”
This was Vickerman’s fifth time running the Boston Marathon. She said after everything that happened, she’s just happy to be home.
“It’s sad. It was really hard. My family was really sad. I’m just glad to be home,” she said.
Madelyn Torrey is a former Marine. She was there taking a break from her son’s surgery nearby. She said her natural instincts took over.
“When it happened, I tried to turn around and run into the blast to see if there was something I could do to help in some way,” she said.
This was the first Boston Marathon for Lance Kuehn, of Eagan. Only minutes earlier, his family had left where the first bomb went off.
“If I was any slower that day, it would be something different right now,” he said.
Emily Shafer’s brother had already finished the race about a half hour before the explosions. She said it was surreal watching the scene unfold on TV as it was taking place just blocks from their hotel.
“I mean it’s scary to realize that we were just in that very area, those very spots that they kept showing on TV, just minutes before something like that happened,” she said. “Just to see the chaos and terror of what was going on.”
Last night, everyone stayed in their hotels — restaurants were closed, streets were shut down.
“It was almost like a ghost town with just police walking around,” said Chris Powers, of Blaine.
Still, several runners said they don’t plan on letting this tragedy prevent them from running in the marathon again next year.
Emails and facebook posts are circulating about a run at 9 p.m. Tuesday at Edina High School. At this point, it sounds like members from Team USA MN will be there. It will only be a mile run but it’s a way to honor Boston and the running community they love.