Lynchburg, VA - At least eight runners from the Lynchburg area took to the streets of Boston Monday for what should have been a triumphant marathon finish. Instead, it turned to worry and uncertainty for family and friends back home.
ABC 13 spoke to one runner just back from Boston and a mother waiting for her son to return Tuesday night: Mike Griffin says he and his wife were bombarded with calls and text messages from home. Tammy Whitlock was relieved to hear from her son Jordan after 30 minutes and is anxiously awaiting his arrival at the Lynchburg airport.
A year and a half after qualifying to run the Boston Marathon, Griffin got on a bus that shuttled him to his starting spot. 26.2 miles and 3 hours 37 minutes later, his runner's high turned to one of the worst lows you can feel.
"It was heartbreaking. You know. Just because of the special experience being just marred."
Griffin and his wife sat inside a Boston restaurant, watching the scene unfolding back at the finish line on television. Griffin says those awful images followed him on the flight home.
"They have those little TVs on the back of the seats a lot were tuned in to the various news networks," he said.
There were more than 26,000 runners in Boston, but waiting to hear from her son, Tammy Whitlock could only think of one. She was sure Jordan had crossed the finish line well before the blasts. But still.
"You don't know if he could be in the crowds watching the others finish," she said. "None of my family was hurt, but they could have been. If it had been a half hour, 45 minutes earlier, I could have been running by or my wife could have chosen a different place to watch."
Two local families thankful they were spared, but mindful of those who weren't.
"To see runners, that is there love, and to have their legs blown off it's heart wrenching," said Whitlock.
Griffin had already decided this would be his last marathon for a while, but he says what happened would not keep him from returning to Boston to run.