Local runners OK after marathon explosions

Published 11:20 pm Monday, April 15, 2013

An area resident who ran Monday’s spoiled Boston Marathon was well clear of the finish-line area when two explosions occurred, killing at least three and injuring more than 140 people.

“I was already well clear of the area by then,” said Jeffrey Fitch, who lives in Carrollton.

Matt Trangenstein shows his Boston Marathon finisher’s medal. (Courtesy of Matt Trangenstein)

Matt Trangenstein shows his Boston Marathon finisher’s medal. (Courtesy of Matt Trangenstein)

Fitch, who finished the race in three hours, 21 minutes and 47 seconds, was almost back at his hotel near the starting line by the time the explosions occurred more than an hour after he crossed the finish line.

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“The rest of our day has been sitting around watching the news,” he said.

The blasts happened about 2:50 p.m. several seconds apart. Reports indicate one of those who died was an 8-year-old.

Fitch said rumors that cellphone service in Boston had been shut down were not true, noting that many family and friends had been calling all afternoon to check on him.

“It’s a very tense situation here right now, because they still don’t know what’s going on, and they basically locked down all the hotels,” Fitch said. “They’re basically not letting anyone go out.”

It was Fitch’s second Boston Marathon. He ran his first in 2010.

Fitch said he was thankful for his local running group, the Cornerstone Striders, who had quickly checked on him after they heard what happened.

“I’m very concerned about all the people that have been injured today,” Fitch said.

A man who used to live in Suffolk, Matt Trangenstein, was about two blocks away when the explosions occurred. His sister and her husband, who came to Boston to cheer him on, were even closer but were uninjured.

“I was in the medical tent when it happened, trying to warm up,” said Trangenstein, who now lives in Arlington. He had finished the race in four hours, two minutes and 37 seconds.

“It was kind of mass hysteria, kind of pandemonium,” he said, describing the sound of the blast as “two Dumpsters being crashed together.” People came into the medical tent and instructed volunteers to get the others out, because they were going to have to bring in severely injured patients.

“It’s sort of devastating,” he said. “One of the people that was killed was 8 years old.”

Suffolk runner Billy Chorey Jr. was scheduled to run the marathon but canceled the trip when his wife had their first child, a son, on Friday.

“The plan was to go,” Chorey said. “My wife was encouraging it. We really left it up in the air until last week. Once I knew she was going to be induced on Friday, we decided not to go.”

It would have been Chorey’s sixth consecutive running of the Boston Marathon.

“I was trying to keep a streak going,” Chorey said. “But this (the baby) was much more important, and then today — wow, that’s so sad.”