Rostraver native returns home unscathed from bombings at Boston Marathon
Early Monday afternoon, Linda Horrell received a telephone call from her son, Aaron, who had just completed his first Boston Marathon.
“He called and said he was happy with his time,” the Rostraver Township mom said.
“The next phone call, he said, ‘We're in a taxi on the way to the airport, but there were bombs that went off.'”
Linda Horrell called the violence-marred event – three people died and more than 130 suffered injuries – “just a horrible thing.”
“I know these things happen, but you don't think about it happening there,” she said of the race. “We were so excited about him running the race.”
Aaron Horrell, 31, finished the marathon in 3:01, a little over an hour before the explosions occurred. He was en route to the airport when he learned of the blasts.
“We were just about to board the T,” Aaron Horrell said. “That's when they stopped everybody and said ‘the T's closed. There's been two explosions downtown.'”
Horrell said he scrambled to catch a taxi so he could make his flight to New York. From there, he boarded a second plane, which arrived in Pittsburgh late Monday.
“I was in disbelief,” Aaron Horrell said. “I thought, ‘How does this happen at an event like this? At the same time, you think it's an outside event, so it's such an easy target.
“The whole running community is so close knit, and it's such a peaceful event. People travel from all over the world for the Boston Marathon. It's a shame.”
Horrell's time qualified him to run in the 2014 Boston Marathon. He plans to do so next year.
“I don't think something like this could make you not go out and live your life,” Aaron Horrell said.
“I don't think anyone should let that affect their decision, just because there are people out there that don't want us to have those freedoms.”
Horrell traveled with two runners and two coaches from the Steel City Road Runners Club. They all agreed the tragedy will result in heightened security for the Pittsburgh Marathon in less than three weeks.
Charlie Weaver, of Rostraver Township, a veteran of 55 marathons, has run in Boston three times, most recently in 2004. He qualified for Boston this year, but was too busy to make the trip.
Weaver said he ran his first Boston Marathon in April 2002, the first such race after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“They had super-tight security,” Weaver said of the scene in 2002. “But you can only secure it so much. It's 26 miles long.”
Weaver said security has remained tight in Boston ever since.
“At finish line, there are police all over,” Weaver said. “There is security everywhere.”
Weaver said runners concentrate more on finishing the race than on their surroundings at the finish line.
“It's a huge party,” Weaver said. “There's people packed on both sides, usually.”
Weaver will be a pacer for the Pittsburgh Marathon – one of the people designated by officials to run the race at a specific pace. Runners attempting to qualify for Boston, or those trying to merely set a personal record routinely run with pace groups.
Weaver said he expects the blasts in Boston will affect the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 5 and marathons down the road, but “especially at Pittsburgh, because it will happen right after this.”
As authorities were still uncovering details, Weaver suggested the explosions were aimed more at crowds than the marathon itself.
“This could have happened in the crowds outside of just about any place, any sporting events, anywhere where large crowds are gathered,” Weaver said.
Stephanie Beisheim of Nottingham Township qualified for Boston Marathon, but was unable to fit the trip into her schedule.
“It almost makes me wonder if there was a higher purpose for me to not go,” Beisheim said. “As I saw that, I thought about having qualified and I could have been there.
“I guess it was a blessing in disguise, but I feel sorry for all of those families who had runners or volunteers or spectators there.”
As her son made it home, Linda Horrell was thankful.
“We're just glad he's safe, and I feel for the people who lost family members or who were hurt,” she said.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Coyle Theater backers win lawsuit over debt
- Visiting Italians welcomed to sister city of Monongahela
- ‘No turn on red’ sign replaced in Monongahela
- Mon Valley school districts set to begin new year
- Reader requests more from ’44 on ‘This Day’ journey
- Carroll incident draws police from 4 departments
- Learning never stops for Fallowfield Towship art educator Mohney
- Chase suspect faces trial, other woes
- Monessen man faces another trial
- Ringgold set for school year to begin Aug. 28
- Mon Valley transit merger decision might come next month