Jasper marathoner witnesses chaos

David L. Ryan/Boston Globe, AP
People scattered as an explosion detonated near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston on Monday afternoon. Two explosions went off at the finish line, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. Among those near the finish line was Dave Fuhs, a Jasper resident who had finished the race about 20 minutes before the blast.

By ALEXANDRA SONDEEN
Herald Staff Writer

BOSTON — Dave Fuhs finished his third Boston Marathon on Monday in what he considered good time. About 20 minutes later, he was sitting on a curb drinking Gatorade and talking to other runners about a half-block from the finish line.

Fuhs

“I just happened to look toward the finish line and saw the first blast,” the 62-year-old Jasper man said this morning from Boston Logan International Airport. “I knew immediately it was a bomb.  Then a second one went off farther down the street.”

Two bombs had detonated, turning a happy and excited scene into chaos more like a war zone. Three people were killed and more than 140 were wounded.

Fuhs’ thoughts immediately turned to his wife, Julie, who had accompanied him to the city. Last year, the pair watched the marathon from outside the Lenox Hotel just across the street from where the blast occurred. As police evacuated the area, he began trying to call her.

“I tried to contact her, but the cellphone system had been shut down,” he said. “I was really worried and, of course, she was really worried about me.”

He finally reached her about 20 minutes later by using someone else’s cellphone. She had been waiting in the family area about a block behind Boylston Street where the finish line area lay in shambles.

“It was just an unbelievable scene,” Fuhs said.

On the way back to the Park Plaza Hotel about three blocks from the finish line, Fuhs spotted his wife in the crowd on a street corner.

“We were both pretty excited and thankful to see each other,” he said.

Fuhs had finished the 26.2-mile marathon with a time of 3:48:56. Had he been a few minutes slower, he could have wound up in the turmoil.

“I didn’t expect to run as well as I did, but something carried me yesterday,” he said. “I was about 10 or 15 minutes faster than I expected to be, based on my training program. Someone was looking over my shoulder.”

He noted the weather was beautiful, the crowds were energized and everything seemed to be running smoothly.

“It was just an absolutely perfect day, until the end,” Fuhs said.

As the investigation continues, Fuhs was stopped at the Boston airport this morning by a federal agent seeking any videos or photos he and his wife may have had of the marathon.

“They wanted anything we had,” Fuhs said. “They’re going to find who did this. I know they will.”

Trusty

Eric Trusty, a machinery technician with the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in Boston, is the son of Sandi and Tony Trusty of Huntingburg. He was at Coolidge Corner about two miles from the finish line with a group of friends watching runners as they neared the end of the race.

“We had no clue what was going on until I got a call from my supervisors asking if I was all right,” the 21-year-old said this morning. “They were doing an all-hands check.”

Trusty said the crowd was confused and everyone was using cellphones trying to find out what had happened. Police and National Guard members began evacuating the crowds along the route, unsure of what might still come.

“The police and National Guard handled it very well,” Trusty said. “They were very professional about it.”

Trusty headed back to a friend’s apartment and turned on the television news.

“We basically were glued to the TV, trying to figure out what was going on,” he said. “We kind of all gathered together and were answering texts rolling in from family and friends.”

Trusty plans to participate in the Boston Triathlon slated for Aug. 4. He said he’s not too concerned about his safety during that event.

“I’m not overly concerned, and seeing how the (Boston police) handled the situation yesterday, I’m very confident in their ability to execute effective safety measures to the point where everyone feels safe,” he said.

Marks

Jasper resident John Marks, 51, has run the Boston Marathon three times, most recently in 1999, and trains runners for the event. He said the news from Boston is hard to believe.

“It shocks me,” he said this morning. “I just can’t believe it. I was there cheering on my guys in that general area where the bombs went off.”

Marks had been planning to attend this year, but his trainees wound up not being able to compete this year because of injuries.

“It was such chaos every year I was there, after the marathon trying to get around, but I can’t imagine what it was like yesterday,” he said. “It really got to me. I was pretty choked up about it last night.”

Marks and a group of friends had made a plan Sunday night to run in the 2014 marathon.

“We’re still going to do that,” he said. “I’ve done eight marathons, so I’ll run in a qualifying race and then the Boston Marathon and that will be 10. I’ll hang up my marathon shoes then.”

But the history-filled Boston Marathon will forever be affected by Monday’s tragedy.

“The Boston Marathon will never be the same,” Fuhs said. “Ever.”

Contact Alexandra Sondeen at asondeen@dcherald.com.




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