He could see smoke, and then “hundreds of people came running towards us, and all of the emergency responders we could see were running toward the smoke,” he said. “I was hoping it was a construction accident, and then the second bomb went off.”
A fleet of fire trucks started pouring toward the scene; Priest said it seemed like only 30 seconds had passed before the first trucks were rolling past.
“I don’t know how they got there that fast,” he said.
While the Larsons were left to find transportation to their hotel a few miles from Boston’s Copley Square at the city center, Priest and some of the Kokomo contingent were holed up inside the Marriott, unable to go anywhere for several hours. A SWAT team cleared the hotel lobby and then cleared the second floor where the restaurant and bar were located. The Kokomo runners foraged through whatever food they had on hand after their 26.2-mile race, and set to work trying to return dozens of concerned text messages. They didn’t get to eat until close to 7 p.m.
“Everybody had to go to their rooms. All through the night we saw emergency vehicles going back and forth all through the city,” Priest said.
While waiting to board a plane at Boston’s Logan Airport, where there was a security scare earlier in the day that delayed flights, Larson said she’d purposely run a slower race than she normally would, just to take in and enjoy all the sights and sounds of the city.
“I said, ‘I’m just going to run for fun.’ I walked through a couple of Gatorade stops, and I was high-fiving people. If I’d run for time, I could have easily been there four minutes earlier,” she said.