On Monday in the middle of the 117th Boston Marathon tragedy struck as two bombs went off in the crowded streets near the finish line, killing at least three people and injuring more than 140.
-On Monday in the middle of the 117th Boston Marathon tragedy struck as two bombs went off in the crowded streets near the finish line, killing at least three people and injuring more than 140.
Two men with local ties participated in the 26.2-mile race and shared their story.
"I finished the race in 2:54:08," said Jeff Bachak of Mayfield. "This year's race was my fourth consecutive time running the Boston Marathon. I ran a Boston Marathon course personal best by six minutes. The crowds were huge and energetic. There was great support throughout the race."
Jeff finished the marathon over an hour before the first bomb went off.
"In the video of the explosion, the clocks were around 4:09 race time," he said. "In the hour from when I finished and when the bombs went off, I walked back to the hotel room and went to eat. I was eating at the Cheesecake Factory, which is a block away from the finish line."
Jeff explained that the Cheesecake Factory is in the Prudential Center, which is connected to the Hynes Center where the race expo is. There are a lot of stores and restaurants in the building and it is a block long. He added the hotel he stayed at was in the same facility.
While ordering his food Jeff said he noticed a lot of people at the bar standing and watching the TVs.
"At first I thought they were replaying the winners finishing," he stated. "I went to check my phone to see if I had any messages and I didn't have service. My dad went over to check out what people were watching. Word got around that there was a bomb on Boylston Street at the finish line."
He said about 10 minutes later the music stopped in the restaurant and an alarm came on with the message "The Prudential Center and all restaurants are under a lockdown due to criminal activity on Boylston Street."
"There were people walking and running around the street outside the restaurant at the time the announcement was made," Jeff said. "I don't know the exact length of the lockdown but I would say it was around 10 to 15 minutes. It happened so quickly."
He said that some thoughts going through his head were if more bombs were out there and if there are people with guns waiting to shoot others.
"I was really scared," Jeff stated. "I started to look around the restaurant to see where the doors are and where I could hide if something happened."
He said he and his family were able to get out of the city before it was shut down. He used the GPS on his phone to help them find their way out of the city.
"There were armored trucks, swat teams and bomb squads all over the area by the incident," he said. "The police were directing traffic through the streets around the area where it happened."
Despite the tragic events on Monday, Jeff says he hopes to be back next year running the 118th Boston Marathon.
Andrew Thivierge, formerly from Lake Ariel, also spoke out.
"It was a beautiful day for a run," he said. "I had an excellent first half cruising to a 1:26. The hills caught up to me and with about four or five to go, I was struggling and gained a lot of time on those last miles. I ended up running a 3:09 which is a few minutes slower than my best time."
Andrew finished about an hour and a half before the chaos.
"I walked and picked up my gear a few blocks down the road and waited for my family who were watching and cheering for me along the finish line, in the family meeting area," he said. "My family came and met me, we talked a little bit then decided to head back to our hotel at about 2:30."
He said half of his family took the subway out, while the other half of walked to the car.
"Because of the road closures from the race we had to walk around another way to get there so we had a good 30 minute walk," Andrew explained. "About half way to our car we heard what we thought were two cannon shots like from an old naval ship or something, so we thought they must be celebrating Patriots Day at the naval yard or somewhere else. After that we saw police activity, but didn't think much of it because we were in a city. We found out about everything that happened on our way driving out of the city. We couldn't believe it, but we knew what we heard had to be it."
He said they touched base with their family members who took the subway and found they boarded a few minutes prior, so those family member didn't hear anything.
"We are blessed and fortunate to have not been in the area at that time," Andrew stated. "All of our friends and their family who were running are thankfully safe. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone effected."
Andrew said this was hist first Boston Marathon but third marathon overall. He qualified with a 3:01 in Philadelphia.
"I had high hopes for breaking three hours because my training was going so well," he said. "It will be hard for the sport to be the same. Ninety-nine percent of the people running races aren't doing it to win. The weekend 5K is usually for charity. Some people run for loved ones or lost ones. Everyone is trying to reach personal goals and everyone in the running community wants to help each other. Fans cheer for everyone, not just the one person they know. They cheer for the fast and they encourage the people who look like they are ready to give up."
Andrew added that Monday's incident deters him from doing that marathon and other large running events that draw large crowds.