Are SC runners in Boston Marathon OK? The State’s tally

Staff ReportsApril 15, 2013 

Legally blind marathoner Amy McDonaugh of Irmo ran the Boston Marathon in 2:52 today. She let friends and family via Twitter that she is OK. Explosions rocked the finish lne today.

FILE PHOTOGRAPH — the state Buy Photo

There are more than 130 people listed from South Carolina who were running in Monday’s Boston Marathon. We are checking on the status of runners and will keep you updated on any connection that we make.

Update: We have placed a “Google Person Finder,” set up specifically for Boston Marathon participants and loved ones, at the bottom of this story.

If you or someone you know was at the race and would like to be added to this list, send us an email.

A reader emailed: “ Edward Broadnax from Columbia, SC. Graduated from C.A. Johnson High School Class of 1984. Proudly serving in the US Army. He is OK physically. Mentally still in shock about the tragedy.”

Staff writer Joey Holleman filed this account: Julia Early of Lexington had finished the marathon and was waiting to retrieve a bag from the race buses when she heard an explosion.

“We hear it and looked down there and saw a cloud of smoke,” said Early, who works for Health Directions at Lexington Medical Center and at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough.

She said she thought it sounded like a cannon. Those around her wondered if it wasn’t serious, one person even remarked that it might not be a problem because they weren’t hearing sirens. Just then, they heard the first siren.

“They you start getting really, really scared,” Early said.

She eventually worked her way back to her hotel, where she got word out to friends and family that she was safe. Then she started checking on her friends running in the race. As of 4:30 p.m., she still hadn’t heard from all of them.

“It’s a bummer,” Early said. "We were going to go out later, but I don’t really feel like it now.”

West Columbia attorney Kenneth Ebener felt great after finishing his third Boston Marathon, finishing in 3:12:17. He was back at his hotel room when he heard about the explosions. At that point, his main concerns were his wife and parents, who were in town for the race. He contacted them by phone and told them to avoid the finish line area.

They had planned to take the subway back to the hotel, but with the subway system shut down, they had to walk nearly four miles to get there.

“Everything’s kind of in chaos right now,” said Ebener, who like Early suspected he wouldn’t be celebrating despite his strong run.

“It’s hard to understand why people do things like this,” Ebener said.

Amanda Perkins of Greenville was about 4 minutes across the finish line when she heard the explosion.

“I was walking to meet my family...and turned around and saw the grey cloud,” she said.

“At first, everyone was confused, wondering what happened. Less than a minute later there was a second explosion. That's when most people started panicking.”

“We were told to walk away as quickly as possible.”

“You don't want to panic in those situations, but it was clear pretty fast that something was not right.”

Perkins did not see her family, but was able to call them from a hotel.

Perkins said Michelle Ziegler, a friend from Greenville, finished the race before her and is safe.

John Head finished the marathon and walked back to the starting line to get his bag and catch up with his daughter at the family meeting area.

He heard an explosion.

There was a lot of smoke, then a second explosion.

“Somebody turned to me and said, ‘What was that?’”

To Head, it sounded like a cannon — “like a celebratory thing” — but he was confused because the race was far from over.

When he reached the family area, he was told he couldn’t go in, that it was being cleared out.

He waited 15 or 20 minutes before seeing his daughter, Rebecca Vigne.

“Thank goodness she was there. I didn’t have my cellphone so I couldn’t contact her.”

Head said he didn’t have cellphone service for about two hours. It was restored about 4:30 p.m.

He and his daughter were staying in their hotel.

“They don’t want people congregating,” he said. “They don’t want crowds in case there’s a potential for other bombs.”

Drew Williams, 35, of Columbia, finished the Boston Marathon about 45 minutes before the explosion.

“I was walking away,” he said. “I heard it, but I was far enough away to where I didn’t see it.”

Williams was part of a group of seven Columbia runners who spent months training for the race. He said all were safe.

“Everybody went crazy. The police started clearing the roads,” he said. “You saw people running and just trying to get away form it any way possible. They weren’t sure if there was another one that would go off.

“So at that point everybody was scared, like, ’Is there another one?’ I saw people getting on the island in the middle of the road where there is like nothing there but a trash can.”

Daniel Bliesner of West Columbia finished in 4:06:04 and later posted on Facebook: "Boston has gone crazy. Bombing the finish line?! Shame!"

Reacting to a comment from a friend, he said he “missed it by 10 minutes.”

Drew Soltau of Columbia participated in the Boston Marathon today as part of a Columbia running group. Drew, as well as several of the members he attended today’s marathon with, are OK. He sent a text message to his sister, Jessica, to let her know he was OK. Cell phone service is spotty for now, so text was the best way for him to communicate to his family.

Several tweets from friends indicate Gay Petrey of West Columbia has contacted family members and is safe. She finished at 3:51:37.

Amy Bell McDonaugh of Irmo, a legally blind runner who finished today’s marathon in 2:52 today, told friends and family via Twitter “We are safe, waiting to hear from a couple people.”

The Daily Gamecock is reporting that seven athletic training students and two certified athletic trainers from USC were helping people with injuries.

According to the Daily Gamecock: “The nine-person delegation was all safe and accounted for as of Monday afternoon and were treating injured athletes and spectators in “outside ERs,” according to Toni Torres-McGehee, graduate director of athletic training education.”

Andy Shain spoke to Dr. Jeffrey Guy, medical director for the school’s athletic programs, who verified that the students were safe. The school routinely sends athletics training students to sporting events to gain experience.

Runner Erin Miller went on Facebook to tell friends and family she is all right. “Many prayers to the spectators and runners who were in the explosions,” she wrote.

Marie Bridges, another Lexington Medical Center employee, was still out on the course at 4:30 p.m. Her daughters, who were at the race, said she was half a mile from the end and had been diverted to a new finish line to avoid the explosion area, according to Lexington Medical Center spokeswoman Jennifer Wilson.

Lynn Grimes and Jeanne Reynolds, two runners who were members of Trinity United Methodist Church in Blythewood, were both safe and unharmed, according to the church.

Rob Kreigshaber, a runner from Spring Valley, was unharmed in the race, according to his daughter’s Facebook page. His wife Shelly, a Richland School District 2 employee, was in Boston to watch Rob race and was also unharmed.

By 5 p.m., Christine Wernet of Aiken had not spoken yet with partner Michael Roloff, but had heard from two others who spoke with him that he’s fine.

“I’ve heard indirectly he is OK,” Wernet said.

She said Wernet was in the area of the finish line during the explosion “but he is fine and he has made his way out of the area,” she said.

Blythewood runner Jeanne Reynolds was about 500 feet short of the finish line when the bombs – “or whatever they were” – went off, reported her husband, Barry Reynolds.

She was not injured.

“She’s OK,” he said about 5:15 p.m.

“She’s just really shaken up.”

Chris May and Jacob Driggers of Charleston finished the race by 1:30 p.m. and had returned to their hotel room when news broke about the explosion on the television.

The two have friends staying at a hotel closer to the finish line who report that the area is on lock down.

Mary Roberts of Greenville reported that her husband finished the race and was leaving the area when he heard the blast. He did not immediately think anything of it, since the marathon was held on Patriots’ Day, a Massachusetts holiday. Roberts said her husband left the area safely and returned to his hotel.

Glenn Sheehan of Columbia had not yet finished the race when the explosion happened, his wife Julie Sheehan said.

He borrowed a phone and called her from Boston Commons, but only talked long enough to tell her he was okay and trying to get out of the city.

Google Person Finder: Boston Explosions

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