For 2011 Bradley graduate Lauren Fog, the realization that she crossed the same finish line targeted by two explosions Monday afternoon took a couple days to sink in.
“That was supposed to be such a fun day and a powerful event, but it turned into a tragedy,” she said. “I think it’s just starting to hit me.”
Fog participated in this year’s Boston Marathon for the first time, and she said she felt honored to be selected to participate.
“It’s a really prestigious marathon and you have to qualify to enter,” she said.
Fog said the experience was overwhelming, and that it was like nothing she’d seen in the three other marathons she has participated in.
“There were so many people throughout the entire 26 miles,” she said. “I remember I was going for a certain time, and about halfway through I realized I wasn’t going to make that time. So I decided to slow down and enjoy it.”
Toward the end of the race, vivid images flashed before her eyes – scenes that would later be littered with shrapnel and debris.
“I remember about a mile from the finish line the sound from the crowd was deafening. There were so many people,” she said. “And for some reason, I distinctly remember a row of all these flags from different countries at the end of the race.”
After she crossed the finish line, Fog went back to her hotel with her family and took a shower. Shortly after that, she heard a loud sound that she described as “metallic,” and thought it came from another room within the hotel.
“Then we had the news on just to watch coverage of the race,” she said. “It didn’t hit me until I saw those flags torn up on the ground right where I had been. It was very surreal.”
Hours after the explosions, Fog said the streets of Boston, once overflowing with runners and their supporters, had become a ghost town.
“Everything was completely deserted, and there was trash all over the ground,” she said. “All I could hear for three or four hours afterward were constant sirens.”
Fog, who works as a teacher at St. Mark’s Elementary School, said emails were sent out to parents after the blasts letting them know she was OK.
Despite the explosions, which left three people dead and more than 170 injured, Fog said she plans to return to the Boston Marathon.
“Whoever did this wants people to get scared and hide, but the whole running community is very strong and resilient,” she said. “They will want to go back and run for all of those who were injured or lost their lives.”
Though the event ended horrifically, Fog said she does not regret taking part in the marathon.
“It was still an amazing experience to be a part of, but my thoughts and prayers are with those victims and their families,” she said.