UPDATE: Local runners OK following Boston Marathon bombings
At least eight marathon runners from the New Richmond, Deer Park, Amery and Somerset areas are apparently fine, following two bomb blasts near the finish line of the Boston Marathon today (Monday).
According to a representative with the New Richmond Running Club, New Richmond resident Joe Kelzer had texted at about 2:50 p.m. Central Time that everyone from the local contingent was OK.
In a telephone interview at 3:55 p.m., Kelzer's indicated that many of the local runners were headed toward Boston Commons, which was about three or four blocks away from the finish line, at the time of the explosions. The local runners had completed the race just 15 to 30 minutes before the blasts.
"We did didn't think much of it," he said of their initial reaction, noting that they thought it was a celebratory canon sounding in the harbor. "We didn't know what was going on."
Local runners involved in today's race included Kelzer (New Richmond), Wim Ibes (New Richmond), Dan Wells (New Richmond), Stephanie Hoff (Somerset), Jeff Johnston (Deer Park), Joy Keller (Deer Park), Tammy Briseno (Amery), and Bill Draxler.
According to one report, Johnston finished his marathon about 15 minutes prior to the bombings. Ibes said he was pretty shaken up, as he had purchased some coffee and walked directly in front of the first bombing site just three to five minutes before the explosion.
It took a few minutes before the group knew what was happening. Dan Wells' wife, Linda, who had been watching the race nearby, told the group that bombs had gone off.
"After a few minutes, everybody was walking around in a daze," he said. "It was pretty crazy."
Kelzer said authorities closed Boston's subway system and bus service. The local runners' hotels were locked down, Kelszer said, and some hotels were evacuated as law enforcement allegedly found additional bombs that had apparently not detonated.
"No words can describe it," Kelzer said of the experience. "We were all in shock for a good while afterwards."
According to early media reports, two explosions interrupted the finish of the Boston Marathon. Boston Police are indicating that two people are dead and 22 were injured in the blasts.
The winning racers had finished the race several hours before, but slower runners were still completing the 26.2-mile race when the bombs exploded.
The runners who were not finished were rerouted away from the original finishing line and the injured were tended to.
More details will be reported as information is available.