Chris May watched festivities the day before the Boston Marathon from this location. This is the spot where the first bomb exploded.
Chris May didn't hear the explosions heard around the world. But, that doesn't mean he can't feel them.
May, an avid runner from Daniel Island, qualified for the Boston Marathon. “For every runner, their dream marathon is Boston,” he said on the phone Tuesday afternoon while waiting for a connecting flight from Charlotte, N.C. “That was always my goal.”
He and Jacob Driggers, also of Daniel Island, ran together. They had finished the race and returned to their hotel, which was about a mile and a half away.
“It happened right when we got back to our hotel,” he said. “We did not hear it. We must have been in an elevator or something.”
The first explosion went off around 3 p.m. The second detonated less than a minute later. Law enforcement officials say the bombs were likely hidden in backpacks and were shrapnel-studded pressure cookers.
May estimated they finished the race an hour before the explosions. He started getting phone calls from friends worried about him. Driggers browsed his Twitter feed and saw all the news reports.
“I was shocked because we were just there,” he said. “I had that feeling like Sept. 11 when you're just not sure what's going on. Is it terrorism or something that malfunctioned?
“It was very surreal.”
May said he's “come to terms” of the gravity of the situation after watching television coverage that night, searching for answers of a heinous crime without many to offer. Three people have been killed, including an 8 year old boy standing at the finish line. Others have sustained major injuries, including loss of their legs. The current estimate is 176 injured, but that could change.
The day prior to the Boston Marathon, other shorter races are held. May and Driggers watched a 1-mile race from the same place the first bomb exploded.
The horrific terrorist attacks – it's unclear whether they're domestic or international – will not deter May from wanting to run in the marathon again next year, though.
“No, it makes me want to do it more,” May said. “I just don't want it to be like anybody or any group has influence over what I do. It's like standing up for you believe in, you know?”
In the Boston airport preparing to fly to Charlotte, he said security efforts were more intense. Police officers and investigators questioned runners – anybody wearing running gear or Boston Marathon attire – including May.
He said they asked him if he saw anything suspicious, which he said he did not. May told them he had two pictures, which are attached to this story, from the day before from the location that the first bomb went off. They chose not to look at the photos, he said.
While on the flight, he sat next to people who ran the marathon unharmed but had friends that were injured as spectators. “One lost a leg, and the other had basically both shattered,” he said they told him.
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