"They're trying to make a statement"; Tucson runner's firsthand take on Boston bombings
CREATED Apr 16, 2013 - UPDATED: Apr 17, 2013
Reporter: Maggie Vespa
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Close to 50 Tucson runners saw the terror unfold firsthand at Monday's Boston Marathon bombings.
Since then, 9OYS has confirmed they're all okay, and many, if not all of them, are home.
We caught up with recently returned Boston runner Linnley Sweeney at the Reid Park track.
"I love running because it pushes me," she said. "There's just something about running that... I don't know... I can clear my mind a lot easier."
Monday afternoon, Sweeney had just finished her first major marathon.
"There was a lot of joy," she told 9OYS reporter Maggie Vespa. "But then all of a sudden we hear these two loud explosions, and it goes dead silent."
Standing in the family area, she couldn't see what had happened.
"You hoped that it was like celebratory cannons because it's Patriot's Day, but in the back of our minds we knew that it was something much worse," said Sweeney.
"A few people started running," she said. "Then the cops started yelling at people to get out of the road, and there were ambulances going by."
Sweeney ducked into a nearby restaurant.
The next hour was filled with frantic attempts to call family.
"My phone was about to die, but then after another 10-15 minutes, I was able to get another call through to my husband," she said. "I was finally able to talk to him."
Now, a day later, she says the shock is fading.
"You know part of me feels like this is a dream, like I want to wake up from it because it just seems so bizarre."
As for those responsible for such horror, Sweeney has a message.
"They're trying to make a statement, and I'd rather make a bigger statement by continuing to run and continuing to do marathons and not let this stop me," she said.
Sweeney says she does plan to run other major races, and she encourages others to do the same.
She adds she, like many, saw several acts of kindness in the aftermath of the bombings.
She says the staff of that restaurant fed her and dozens of other runners for free and housed them, while they attempted to reach family and friends.