Concordia man Greg Hattan in Boston for marathon
By Jessica LeDuc
Blade staff writer
The two bombs that ripped through the crowds at yesterday's Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding more than 170, hit close to home for Concordian Greg Hattan.
Hattan, who is still in Boston, was reached by telephone Tuesday afternoon and reported that he and his family are safe and sound.
Hattan said he was between a half and a quarter of a mile from the finish line when he saw the smoke from the explosions. He had just met his family at the mile-to-go marker, and they were headed toward the finish line.
"I saw the smoke coming up, but I was unaware of what had happened," Hattan said. "They immediately stopped the race and they barricaded it off, but I didn't know exactly the extent of the damage that had been done at the finish line.
Officials said two bombs blew up about 10 seconds and around 100 yards apart Monday near the finish line of the 26.2-mile race.
"There were a lot of police officers along the course and we knew something was wrong when they all started talking into their walkie talkies."
Runners were held where they were, and had to get out of the way of the emergency personnel making their way down the course toward the finish line.
"Everyone was trying to get cell phone reception, and it was very difficult," Hattan said. "Someone determined that there was an explosion just ahead of us and that's where the smoke was coming from."
After being held where they were, Hattan said he and the other runners were rerouted away from the chaos. Once back at their hotel, he said the images were horrific.
"Once we started seeing the photos and the news feeds, with people losing limbs and blood everywhere, it was just a sickening feeling," he said.
Hattan said with Monday being both the marathon and Patriot's Day in Boston, the crowds were out in force.
"And to see that happen to people who'd come out to support people, it was really sick and saddening," he said."
It had taken Hattan nearly five years to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which he said is the "mecca of marathons."
"Things were really great until this happened," he said. "It has been an eye opener, going from celebration to shock, and seeing all the people come out to help."
The scene on the streets of Boston was still tense Tuesday morning, Hattan said.
"The area we're in, all the streets are closed off and police are everywhere," he said. "You can't get in and out of our hotel without showing identification, and having them search all the bags you're holding."
Hattan and his wife, Janice, plan to fly out of Boston later today to return home to Concordia.
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