Irish marathon runners, who narrowly escaped Monday’s double bomb blast in Boston, were happy to arrive home to Dublin airport on Wednesday.
A large portion of the 108 Irish registered to run in Monday’s race arrived into Dublin airport’s Terminal 2.
Greg Fitzsimons from Whitehall in Dublin was among the 108 Irish citizens, 50 of whom reside in Ireland, who have been safely accounted for following the Boston Marathon bombings. Fitzsimons crossed the finish line just moments before the first explosion and was just yards away from the scene of carnage.
“We were watching people coming in and there was a bang which we thought was a generator or something, then there was another and people started saying, 'get out of here' and we just ran,” he told the Irish Independent.
He added: “There was a lot of fear and chaos and anxiety but at the same time there were a lot of people who put down their bags and went in to help people."
Orna Dilworth told the newspaper she is already started "saving the pennies" to run the marathon in Boston next year.
Bobby Hilliard, 49, from Clonakilty in Co Cork has not ruled out running in next year’s race either.
A father of two, Hilliard completed his 25th marathon on Monday, moments before the explosion.
“I was gathering my thoughts and was about to get a foil sheet when we heard the first bang,” he said.
Speaking from Boston, Hilliard said the horror of Monday’s attack is only beginning to sink in, reports the Irish Examiner.
“It’s hard to believe that someone would do this to ordinary runners and spectators at the finish line,” he said.
“You’d wonder what would drive someone to create such pain and misery on such a positive day.”
A founder of the Waterfront Marathon in Clonakilty, he was standing alongside other runners when the first bomb exploded.
“We genuinely thought it was firecrackers or bangers. But the Americans copped on very quickly what was going on.
“It seemed like time stood still. They moved us on very quickly, we got medals and juices and we were moved out very quickly.
“It still hadn’t registered with us what had happened. It wasn’t until afterwards that it hit us. It was chaos with ambulances and police cars flying all over the place.
“We were all over the place emotionally and physically. I didn’t see the carnage.”
“It was only when I walked back to the hotel and saw the full extent of the events on the news, that I realised how bad it was.”
The athlete says if it wasn’t for the encouragement of two American runners, he could have been crossing the finish line just as the bombs were detonated after he “hit the wall” at mile 21.
“I started to walk at that stage but two American women who were running near me, and the positivity from the crowd, just encouraged me to start running again,” he said.
“If I hadn’t starting running at that point, I could have been caught in the blast.”
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