The day after the Boston Marathon bombing, competitors and their families return to Nashville, forever changed by what they experienced.
“I just didn’t expect to come home from something so amazing so deeply saddened,” said a shaky and tearful Kate Jackson, a Nashville area runner who finished the Boston Marathon 30 minutes before the explosions.
“We heard the boom and we were a block away and everything just went silent,” said Jackson, one of 53 competitors from around Nashville.
She and her sister-in-law ran and made it safely to their hotel, which was put on lock-down.
Nashville runner Herb DeBerry crossed the finished line about 26 minutes before the explosion.
He and his wife were walking back to their hotel when they heard the explosions. They initially thought the explosions were part of Patriots’ Day festivities.
“You’re confused, frustrated,” said DeBerry. “I felt angry and most of all I felt so sorry after learning of the people we had lost. It’s just hard to really put into words what you feel when something like happens.”
This is the fourth year in a row DeBerry has competed in the Boston Marathon.
His wife, Peaches, has cheered him on each year, and typically waits for him near the finish line, very close to where the explosion went off.
This time, she couldn’t find standing room, so she waited in the designated family’s area.
“I was a little disappointed at first because I’m always right there at the finish line to see him come in, but then I realized later on it was God’s divine intervention that kept me from being over there because I probably would’ve been part of that explosion,” Peaches explained.
Both BeBerry and Jackson said Monday’s events will not stop them from competing in marathons.
However, the loss of life and limb at distance running’s most storied race will forever haunt them.