By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Heather Duley was in her locked-down hotel room Monday less than three hours after explosions rocked the Boston Marathon.
Her mom and sister had been standing beside the street where the explosion happened at the finish line.
They watched her finish, before going a block away to meet at the family meeting area. Duley, a Union County resident, took a picture with them and waited for running friends Jimmy and Roan Johnson of Saltillo.
“There was a huge explosion, huge,” Duley said. “A few seconds later, another. We knew something had happened. Golf carts with stretchers came flying down the road. Ambulances came through…”
The explosion came 4 hours, 10 minutes into the run. Duley said people were all over the road as emergency personnel raced to the scene. From the 11th floor of her Colonnade Hotel a block away, she could see nine ambulances below. Sirens were loud and clear through her phone call to the Daily Journal.
“As soon as we got back to the hotel, we were on lockdown, not even allowed go down to the lobby and told not to use our cell phones,” Duley said. “I’m looking out the window. There’s police tape. I’ve never seen so many helicopters, ambulances, police…”
Duley was among several Northeast Mississippi runners, including Tupelo residents Misty Thompson, who was at mile 26 when officials blockaded the path, and Jane Claire Shettles and their husbands Jim and Kurt, as well as New Albany’s Roger McMillin. Corinth’s Kenneth Williams was less than a mile from finishing.
Williams’ brother, Sandy, told the Journal minutes after the blasts that Kenneth was OK. Kenneth Williams said he saw smoke across the sky before having to stop the race. He and several runners waited more than an hour before being allowed to walk back to his hotel.
Shettles also completed the Marathon prior to the explosion. In a text to the Daily Journal, Shettles said that she was not injured but that the situation was scary and that she was “very nervous.”
Thompson wasn’t able to contact her husband for nearly two hours.
“I’m glad to be safe and with my husband. I wish I was with my kids,” Thompson said. “There were so many police and ambulances making you run away from the incident.”
Sarah Robinson contributed to this report.
SIX AREA FINISHERS
Six of nine area runners in the field finished before the bombings.
Bret Beauchamp of Oxford, a Boston veteran, was 1,445th in 2:59:43, while Jane Shettles of Belden was 4,640th overall and 506th among females in 3:16:44.
Other finishers: Heather Duley, New Albany, 3:42:20 (10,674); Misty Thompson, Belden, 3:58:54 (14,647), James C. Johnson Jr., Saltillo, 3:58:56 (14,691); Roger McMillin, New Albany, 4:11:21 (17,181).