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Local Residents Still In Shock From Surviving Marathon Explosions

By: Gina Pitisci; Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Gina Pitisci; Lanetra Bennett Email
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By: Lanetra Bennett
April 16, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - 17 runners from the Tallahassee area were running in the Boston Marathon during Monday's bombings.

They're all safe, but, they are still in shock from being so close to tragedy.

Leon County School District Administrator and Former Chiles High School Principal Alan Cox says right when he got his medal for proudly completing the Boston Marathon Monday, "I heard two loud explosions. They were loud enough that I ducked, just jerk reaction. I've heard a transformer blow. These were deep, bellowing explosions; very different sound," he says.

Cox says many people didn't react much until the second bomb went off about 10 to 15 seconds after the first.

He says, "Then a cop turned to me--there's thousands of people--he turned and looked at me; he said, there's been a major problem at Boylston Street, which is the finish line; get your family and get out of here. That's when all of the law enforcement started running toward the finish line. Well, that's when it got a little chaotic."

Cox's wife, Laurie, was in the crowd with two friends cheering their husbands on. She says they'd been in the same spot for hours...and moved about a block down when Cox crossed the finish line.

She says, "We had just been there ten minutes before and walked in that exact spot where that explosion had gone off. I think that's what hit all of us that could've easily been any of us."

The Coxes say they're grateful for their safety, and grieve for those who weren't as lucky.

"It was a gruesome crime scene. It's horrible. It's a great American event and it's just horrible." Cox says.

Warren Emo, an architect from Tallahassee, says, "It was kind of like a war zone. People were very terrified."

Emo says he knew right away that something was wrong. "I said this is not good. This is a bad situation. I know what a bomb impact should feel like, and smoke, and it was definitely quite a significant bomb."

Emo says this was his 10th Boston Marathon.

He says he'd just crossed the finish line in Monday's race when the first of two bombs went off just before 3 p.m.

He says, "I saw the smoke, felt the shock wave. I turned around, then the second bomb went off. You could certainly see the horror in everyone's faces."

Emo says the 27,000 runners in the Boston Marathon were robbed of the usual glory. He says, "At the finishing line, you can just see the joy and the pride on everybody's faces and that just immediately was erased. Everybody was in distress-concerned about their family members. The fright was not knowing what was going to happen next."

Sean Hudson was also among the 17 runners from Tallahassee.

He says he finished the marathon about an hour before the bombing. He says he was also in Centennial Park in Atlanta the same day of the 1996 Olympics Bombing.

Hudson says, "It's just unthinkable that someone wants to put people in this position. But, you can't completely go away and hide away because this is America. We have freedom and that's the reason we have freedom."

Hudson says he will not let the bombings stop him from running in another Boston Marathon.

Cox says in the midst of the tragedy, Bostonians were almost apologetic to out-of-towners for what happened.


WCTV will bring you more stories from area residents with ties to the Boston Marathon tonight on Eyewitness News.


By: Gina Pitisci
April 16, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - A Valdosta resident and Tallahassee local who ran in the Boston Marathon both survived the tragic events today. Valdosta resident, Yvette Moore, who has run the Boston Marathon three times described the event and said "it's crazy. There's ambulances and police cars and fire trucks everywhere.”

Moore was about 100 yards from the finish line when she heard the first explosion go off. She says she asked the person running next to her “what was that and then right after that the other one went off and then everyone was running backwards back towards me saying run, run." Moore says she has been able to reach her family and friends and just wants to get back to her hotel. She admitted that she was still in running gear and said “they won't let anybody into any of the buildings so we've been kind of standing outside freezing."

Tallahassee local, Gary Griffin also ran in the marathon and called us from the Boston airport to let us know he and all the other runners from Gulf Winds Track Club are okay. Griffin said "we've got Facebook messages and phone messages and emails from people who assure us that all the people that we knew, those 20 or so Gulf Winds people they are all okay."

Carol Herndon's daughter, Leslie Dickinson, a Chiles High School and Florida State University graduate was another runner in the Boston Marathon. Herndon received a message on her voicemail from her daughter shortly after the explosions that said "I wanted to let you know I’m okay. I don't know if you've been watching the news but we were on our way back to the finish line and two bombs went off.” Herndon says “people were calling, my cell phone was going crazy, my home phone was going crazy, my Facebook, you know, how is she, how is she and thankfully, she is fine, she is okay."


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