Pawleys man finished Boston Marathon 30 minutes before attacks
Chris Fischer of Pawleys Island had been training for months to fulfill a long-time goal of participating in the world-famous Boston Marathon.
On Monday, he finally got his chance. But he had no idea he would be taking part in a race that would end with an attack on America.
At about 3 p.m. Monday, two bombs exploded in the crowded streets near the finish line of the 26.2-mile marathon, killing at least three people and injuring more than 175.
It was a bloody scene of shattered glass and severed limbs that raised alarms that terrorists might have struck again in the U.S.
A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still unfolding, said the attack was being treated as an act of terrorism.
Fischer, who was in Boston with his wife and their two young children, said he has been training on Pawleys Island for months to be a part of the oldest continuously-run annual marathon in the world.
He finished the race in 3:36:50.
Had he been 30 minutes slower, he would have been in the area of the finish line when the blasts occurred.
Fischer, operations manager at Trebol USA in Andrews, said he and his family were far enough away from the finish line that they did not even hear the explosions.
"We were walking when we saw all the emergency vehicles pass," Fischer said, adding he did not know what happened until he saw the TV coverage on a TV in a business.
“It is very sad. It’s such a super race and Boston is a fabulous host,” Fischer said.
He said he received calls all afternoon and evening from friends and family making sure he and his family were fine.
“I posted on my Facebook page that we were all OK,” he said.
Fischer said immediately following the blasts, all public areas, buildings and museums were shut down.
He said Homeland Security was stationed outside of his hotel and “everywhere in town.”
“Every hotel has federal police in front of them,” Fischer told The Georgetown Times on Monday night.
The motive for the bombings was still being investigated at press time Tuesday.
President Barack Obama vowed that those responsible will “feel the full weight of justice.”
The fiery twin blasts took place about 10 seconds and about 100 yards apart, knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattering windows and sending dense plumes of smoke rising over the street and through the fluttering national flags lining the route.
Blood stained the pavement, and huge shards were missing from window panes as high as three stories.
Included in the three killed was an 8-year-old boy. Seventeen of the wounded were listed in critical condition Tuesday.
The attack may have been timed for maximum carnage: The four-hour mark is typically a crowded time near the finish line because of the slow-but-steady recreational runners completing the race and because of all the friends and relatives clustered around to cheer them on.
Despite the attack, Fischer said he hopes to run the marathon again.
“I really would like to. You have to qualify to be in the race. It is difficult to get into,” he said. “They have the most fascinating fans along the route. I hated to see something bad like this happen.”
By Scott Harper
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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