The festive mood turned sombre soon after the twin blasts rocked the 117th edition of the Boston Marathon on Monday.
Even before Ashok Nath, one of the Indian runners, could celebrate his personal best of 2 hours 59 minutes, news of the blast had reached him. “I was in my hotel room and wanted to check the highlights on TV. Instead, I was shaken by the blasts that occurred close to the finish line,” the Bangalore-based runner told HT over the phone from Boston.
The awards ceremony, associated with the post-marathon celebrations, was cancelled. “No one was talking about the race and results; everyone was gripped by the issue. As a result, the evening party for the runners was also called off,” said Nath of the precautionary measures taken by the organisers.
As the event is held on a holiday, the atmosphere was festive with spectators cheering on the runners. “It was the spectators and family members of the runners who were caught unaware,” said Nath, who participated in the Boston race for the fourth time. In this edition he participated in the men’s 50-55 years category.
The blast, which happened for the first time in the history of the oldest footrace in the US, affected the runners who had a target of four hours and above. “Only 70 percent of the runners could finish,” said Nath.
But on Tuesday, it was life as usual in Boston. “Security had been beefed up in key areas, including the subways, but it was normal in the other parts,” he said.
Another Indian, Bhaskar Desai, finished in 3 hours 45 minutes, some 30 minutes before the incident, and is lucky to have escaped unhurt.