Amanda Hachey had just finished the grueling 26.2-mile Boston Marathon when she heard the loud blasts.
“I was walking to get my medal and water and everything,” said Hachey, a research assistant at Lipscomb University's Institute for Sustainable Practice. “I was on the phone and we heard it, it sounded like a cannon. We turned around and there was just smoke and there was another one immediately after.”
Hachey completed the race in four hours and eight minutes. The explosives, which killed at least two people and injured dozens more, happened less than a minute later.
“We just stopped and looked like 'What was that?' ” Hachey said. “Then we kept moving because I had to meet up with my family. Everyone just stopped and looked and was really confused until we heard sirens, then we realized it was bad.”
Law enforcement authorities in Boston are investigating the incident. President Barack Obama said those responsible for the attack “will feel the full weight of justice.” Hachey spoke to The City Paper from an Air Force base outside Boston where her boyfriend's sister-in-law works.
According to the Boston Marathon website, Hachey was one of 53 competitors from Nashville. Lipscomb University assistant womens track and field coach Jenny Randolph was two blocks down from the finish line when the explosion happened.
“I could feel it vibrate in the sidewalk,” Randolph said.
She looked back but couldn’t see much with several large buildings blocking her view. About 15 seconds later, she heard another explosion.
“Soon after that we heard all sort of sirens and saw emergency personnel rushing through,” Randolph said. “So we knew it was something bad.”
Randolph, her sister and former Lipscomb runner Caitlin Anderson were unharmed and still hopeful to catch their scheduled Monday night flight back to Nashville. Air traffic at Boston's Logan Airport was shut down for part of the afternoon, but FAA officials said it shouldn't affect Monday night's commercial flights.
“I’m saddened by it — extremely saddened — and very thankful to be OK,” Randolph said. “I’m just most sad when I see things like this happen and how broken the world is. My first thought was to pray for the safety of everyone involved, that God would have his hand in it somehow.”
With Nashville's marathon just two weeks away, Police Chief Steve Anderson said Monday afternoon that his group would review all security measures.
“The Nashville Police Department is now and has been in the security planning process for the April 27th Country Music Marathon," he said in a release. "Today’s explosions in Boston will factor into that planning as we meet in the coming days with marathon organizers. We will be in contact with law enforcement in Boston and our federal partners with the FBI and ATF prior to finalizing our strategies. The Nashville Police Department is absolutely committed to the safety and enjoyment of this event by runners, their families and race enthusiasts.”