For two marathon runners with local ties, Monday's events in Boston were especially difficult.
"Who in their wildest dreams would think this would have been a venue for a terrorist," asked Rolfe McCoy, a dentist at McCoy and Samples Dental Clinic in Chillicothe. McCoy participated in the 100th running of the Boston Marathon in 1996. He also ran in 2000 and 2001. "It's a sad day when terrorists use an amateur event of this magnitude to attack civilians. It's tough to watch."
McCoy said completing the 26-mile marathon can create a unique emotional state for many runners. Coping with the horrors of a bomb explosion after that sort of athletic feat is unimaginable.
"The people coming through at the end of the race are physically and mentally exhausted, yet they're riding on a high because of the people that are in Boston cheering them on," McCoy said. "I can't even imagine the emotions that the runners themselves were going through, let alone the spectators."
Angie Rupp Dudman is a 1980 graduate of Chillicothe High School now living in Geneva, Ill. As a Hornet, she won a state championship in the 400-meter dash her senior year. Dudman participated in this year's Boston Marathon. She finished the race nearly 45 minutes before the explosion at the finish line. Dudman said there was a lot of confusion in the area near the marathon route.
"We thought it was a cannon going off for Patriot's Day," Dudman said. "A bomb was the last thing on my mind. You could hear sirens everywhere; more and more as time went by. People weren't panicking. Everyone just kept checking their phones trying to find information."
Dudman said most of the information she received about the bombings came from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
"I was in a big crowd of people trying to reunite with the people I came with," Dudman said. "We were getting more information from the people back home. They were telling us to get out of Boston. We didn't know any details until we went back to the hotel and watched TV."
In the midst of the chaos, reports out of Boston told the tales of marathon athletes running an extra two miles to the nearest hospital to donate blood. Restaurants near the finish line provided free food, water and shelter to those in need. Boston's art museums opened their doors for free on Tuesday to provide a place of respite. McCoy is not surprised by this outpour of support, as the people of Boston are as supportive as the runners themselves.
"Boston is not like your big city, even though it is a city," McCoy said. "It's really a very close-knit community."
The ultimate goal for many marathon runners is to participate in Boston's race. Both Dudman and McCoy believe the Boston Marathon is top amateur running event in the world. McCoy said athletes must qualify to run in the Boston Marathon, and the annual event is the ultimate goal for most runners.
Page 2 of 2 - "You actually have to run a certified marathon, and then they have set times per age group where you have to qualify for," McCoy said. "If you talk to any runner who has aspirations of competing against themselves, they will talk about the Boston Marathon."
Despite the events at Monday's race, Dudman said she would definitely participate again. It's Dudman's positive attitude that McCoy hopes other runners adopt, as well.
"I think the worst thing in the world is to lay down and not participate," McCoy said. "In fact, I think that most runners would jump at the chance to prove the terrorists wrong and participate in future events. I would hope that every runner today continues to aspire to the goal of running the Boston Marathon."