Boston Marathon Runners Share Their Stories

John Perera, Amisha Shah and Kathy Thompson. Photo: Jessie Sebor

Kathy Thompson, John Perera and Amisha Shah

Ontario, Canada

1st Boston Marathon for Thompson and Shah, 2nd for Perera

Before the tragedy… “I wanted to enjoy the experience, to take it all in because it’s such a big event with so much history.” —Thompson

“I was going in with a set time but I blew up at 14 kilometers in. It just became a matter of finishing the race in whatever time.” —Perera

“I’m a John Hancock employee so I was an invitee. For me, it was a dream to run Boston. I knew I’d never be able to qualify, so I just wanted to enjoy every moment.” —Shah

During the explosion… “I finished about half an hour before. I went to the family meeting area and was looking for all of these guys. I thought it was thunder at first.” —Thompson

“We thought, Wow that was a loud noise. Then we knew something was wrong. They were sirens and people scrambling for wheelchairs. It was a panic.”—Perera

“I was at the 20 mile mark. There was a girl in front of me whose phone was going off like crazy. Someone was calling to tell her that there was an explosion. We were pushed aside so all the police cars could base by us. We kept running and then at 25 they cut us off and held us in a synagogue close by. The people there were absolutely phenomenal, helping us out. I used Internet to Facebook them and made sure they were safe. My race ended there, I didn’t care. I needed to know if they were safe or not.” —Shah

“Thank god for the athlete tracker. Because of that we knew that [Shah] was far enough away that she wouldn’t be affected.” —Thompson

Today… “Somber and saddened. We’re all still here to enjoy each other’s company, but many people weren’t that lucky.” —Thompson

“It’s surreal.” —Perera

“It’s sad. It’s really, really sad. It doesn’t sink in that this has happened. ” —Shah

Looking forward… “I’ll be here next year. This hasn’t deterred me from coming. Whoever did this, for whatever intention. If the Boston Marathon shuts down, they win. If anything, the Boston Marathon is going to go on stronger than ever. ”—Perera

“I think I would want to run it more now.” —Thompson

“I’ll be back next year to finish my last 2K. . .to support what the race stands for. It’s Patriot’s Day. It’s about being strong.” —Shah

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