Humboldt State University Professor Tasha Souza was stopped in her tracks by crowds fleeing explosions after finishing the Boston Marathon yesterday -- a race she attended to honor a lost friend.
Souza was unharmed, but the day was already a poignant one for her, because she'd been running in honor of her friend Suzanne Seemann, who was killed by a car while jogging with friends from the Six Rivers Running Club in September.
"I'm physically OK," Souza said, calling from Los Angeles while waiting for a flight home. "I went into the race a bit emotional."
After crossing the finish line, Souza said she was overcome with emotion while remembering her friend.
"My plan was to go back to the finish line and because I was so upset, I decided to go back out and stretch and calm myself down."
Souza was two blocks away, walking back to the finish line from the Boston Common, when she heard the explosions.
"We thought ‘was that a cannon? Was that thunder?'" she said. "That's when I was stopped in my tracks. I'm lucky I didn't see the carnage. I just saw people horrified, running towards me."
The bombing, which officials are calling a terror attack, killed three -- including an 8-year-old boy -- and injured more than 100 others.
Arcata attorney Chris Hamer was registered for the event but didn't attend -- she's been under the weather lately and hotels were too expensive.
"This is the first time I have ever signed up for a marathon and not run it," Hamer wrote in an email. "As it turns out, the explosions occurred about the time I probably would have been crossing the finishing line, if I had run the marathon."
Safely in Arcata, Hamer experienced firsthand some of the concern and confusion that followed the bombing, as people around the country scrambled to find out if friends and family were harmed.
"Today's Times-Standard lists my status as unknown," she wrote. "I have now had 112 phone calls, texts, emails and Facebook messages asking if I am OK. I am sorry to cause so many people worry, but touched so many people cared."