Runners, residents with Sewickley Valley ties describe scene of Boston explosions

Bobby Cherry
| Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 10:30 a.m.

John Paul suffered a running injury around mile 10 and never made it to the finish line near Copley Square.

His daughter, Caroline, was stopped with five miles left to run.

Emily Kobak was standing outside of Fenway Park when she heard explosions happen about one mile from her.

They were among dozens of Western Pennsylvanians who had close encounters on Monday as two explosions detonated near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon.

“We heard the two explosions and didn't think much of it at first,” said Kobak, 30, who grew up in Moon.

“Then we started getting text messages, asking us if we were OK. We overheard someone in line say there was an explosion. We didn't think it was a bomb.”

Kobak, who now lives in Waltham, Mass., was leaving a Boston Red Sox game, heading toward a nearby restaurant when the explosions happened just before 3 p.m. Monday.

“The area around Fenway Park wasn't as panic-stricken as it was near the finish line, but people definitely were scared,” Kobak said.

Police stopped thousands of runners on a bridge about five miles from the finish line after the blasts, said Paul, 58, of Edgeworth, whose daughter, Caroline, was among those stopped.

“This occurred well after the elite” runners would have finished, Paul said.

“This was when the average-Joe runners would have been getting to the finish line.”

Paul was running the race with his daughter for the third time, but had to drop out after 10 miles because of a hip injury.

Paul was one of eight runners in the Sewickley and Moon areas to participate in Monday's marathon.

Kobak, who said she was in the Boylston Street area Monday morning, called the attack an “eye-opening experience.

“I know the streets. I know the area. It's unbelievable.

“For something to happen on such a positive day, it's just a tragedy.”

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or Staff writer David Conti contributed to this report.

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