Boston marathon: “You could hear runners screaming as they found out”

The aftermath of the explosions at the end of the Boston marathon on Monday (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
The aftermath of the explosions at the end of the Boston marathon on Monday (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Charity runner Sarah McGarel was just half-a-mile from the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the two explosions – which claimed the lives of three people – went off.

The former St Mary’s and Boston High School pupil told of the ‘screaming’ she heard when people began to realise the extent of the damage.

Sarah McGarel.

Sarah McGarel.

“You could hear some runners screaming as they found out that something had happened at the finish line, and they knew they had family and friends there,” the 29-year-old – who also had family at the event – told ITV’s Daybreak yesterday morning.

“I had people that I knew who were running that had family, very young children, at the finish line that I was worried about.”

Monday’s marathon shocked the world when scenes of two explosions at the finish line were broadcast across the globe.

As The Standard went to press, the blast had killed three people – reportedly including an eight-year-old boy – and at least 140 were injured.

Back in our Boston, Sarah’s brother John and sister Ellen were left scrambling to discover any news about their sister and parents – Jenny and John – who were in Massachusetts to cheer their youngest daughter on.

“We didn’t hear anything for about an hour after the blast,” said John jnr.

“It was a frantic wait. But we were glad when we found out everyone was OK.”

Sarah was just half-a-mile away from the finish line, the scene of the explosion, and had just been spotted by her parents.

John continued: “Sarah had completed 25.7 miles when the race was abandoned.

“Mum and dad were at the 25-mile mark and had watched Sarah go past them.

“They started walking towards the finish line to meet her, when she came running back to them.

“Mum and dad didn’t know what had happened and didn’t hear the blast.

“It’s just a relief.”

Eventually, after an hour of worry, Sarah and her parents – who still live in the town – returned to Sarah’s flat, where they could contact Ellen on Skype to let them know they were safe.

Just last week, Sarah had told The Standard how excited she was about entering her first marathon.

She said: “Marathon weekend here in Boston is one of the biggest weekends of the year.

“The city is buzzing, the atmosphere is electric, and the people it brings to the city are truly inspiring.

“Having experienced it from the sidelines the first year I was here, I knew it was something I very much wanted to be a part of.”

Sarah – who was running to raise money for the Dana Faber Cancer Institute – is in her final year of a three-year secondment with her employers, financial giant PricewaterhouseCoopers and will return to the UK in the summer.