By deadline yesterday, I had managed to speak with two of the four local athletes that I knew ran in the Boston Marathon; and contacted the relative of a third.
But for a fourth runner, Laurie Petty of Friendswood, the best I could do was talk to a family friend who said she had spoken with Petty’s husband who had only reached his wife by cell phone. She was unharmed, I was told, but still separated from her family somewhere in the streets of Boston.
As the night wore on, I didn’t receive any updates. The first thing I did this morning was reach out to my sources again. I managed to talk her by cell phone at her hotel room in Canton, a Boston suburb.
Laurie Petty ran 25.72 miles before the first bomb went off — just before the final turn down the home stretch — Boylston Avenue. She was a little off her normal pace during her seventh marathon. It she hadn’t been, she might have been close enough to see the explosion.
Petty said she didn’t see or hear the explosion, but knew something had happened when Boston police officers were suddenly running down the street next to her.
She was stopped before the final turn, along with hundreds of others. Soon after, the runners and revelers began receiving text messages and alerts of explosions and grievous injuries — while at the same time volunteers began offering water and trash bags to use as thermal blankets.
It was at that point, Petty thought of her family. Petty said her cheering contingent — which included her husband, sons, mother, sister and nephew — were a quarter mile from the bombs. They could see the smoke, but were not near the blast area.
The stopped runners were eventually bused to a staging area where they could recover their bags of valuables — including a cell phone which she used to contact her family.
After about 30 minutes of navigating through alleys and around cordoned off streets, the Pettys were reunited. It had been a long day, Petty said, one whose magnitude didn’t hit her until this morning.
“When I woke up, I was in tears,” she said.
Petty is safe, and heading back home to Galveston County tonight — and if there is a Boston Marathon next year, she said, she plans to run it.
“I am not letting them bring me down,” Petty said of the yet unknown people behind the attack. “They want to ruin it but they can’t.”