HOUSTON, TX – As folks around the world scoured the net for updates on the Boston bombing, here in Houston many had a more personal connection.
“I know people in Boston who were in that area and they said they heard the explosions,” Rice University senior Jorge Aceves said, relieved that his friends were not hurt.
Houstonian Joanna Rodriguez attends Emerson College in Boston. She was five minutes from the site where the bombs went off: “Everyone was just running away from where the explosions happened. And everyone was just scared. On our campus, we had about seven students that were injured… that were running in the race.”
Andy Stewart owns Finish Line Sports in Sugar Land and helps train folks to run marathons. “We had 11 runners from Sugar Land area that were in our running club that ran the Boston Marathon,” he said. “Through the texts and Facebook, I’ve heard from almost all of them and all of them were okay… One of our runners was picking up her bag and had just finished when the bomb went off.”
Jim Braden, who owns Fleet Feet Sports and ran the Boston Marathon back in ’93, said the timing of the bombs was probably not meant to target the winners. “I heard it happened at the 4:09 mark of the marathon,” he said, “which the lead runners would have been in about two hours ahead of that.”
Aceves, an avid runner himself, said people should not be too scared of this attack, “If people stop running marathons then, essentially, they’re justifying the use of these sort of terrorist tactics.”
Abhijit Navlekar, a fellow Rice student training to run his first marathon, agreed, “I think that’s exactly what the terrorists want. They want to deter people from going out and they just wanna create havoc.”
“It’s a sad, sad day,” Stewart said. “And it’s still one of the greatest sporting events that there is–Boston Marathon. I hope (this bombing) doesn’t detract from the future of this great event.”