EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 16, 2013

From the finish line: Locals tell their stories

Below is a compilation of the stories of local residents who were running in the Boston marathon or there to support a loved one when two bombs shredded a picture perfect day in Boston.

‘It was like a war zone’

Andover High track coach Peter Comeau was a block from the finish line near Trinity Church on Boyston Street working as a volunteer, giving out blankets to runners after they finished the Boston Marathon. Then the bombs went off.

“I heard the one explosion and then the other right afterward,” recalled Comeau. “A golf cart was coming by me (heading toward the finish line) and I realized there were four officials from the Mass Track Association at the finish line. I started jogging with the cart and seeing what was going on. When I got to the finish line (area), it was chaos. Bodies were on the ground everywhere. It was like a war zone.”

Comeau saw a Hummer pull up to the area near where the explosions took place and a few bomb experts jumped out and ran into the two offices. Soon they returned, said Comeau, saying everybody had to leave the area, including firefighters and police.

“This all happened in about 10 minutes. It was so quick,” said Comeau. “I was really struck by how many people were helping out, figuring what they could do to help. There were a lot of brave people there. I was really proud. Americans can be pretty cool when events like this happen.”

Crossing the line seconds before blast

Katie Schadlick was in tears as she crossed the finish line. She beat her previous best marathon run of four hours flat by nearly five minutes, crossing at 3:55.

“It was a really a special moment,” recalled Shadlick, who is from Salem, N.H., but currently lives in Michigan. “I had just grabbed my water bottle and then walking to get my medal. Then I heard this explosion. I thought it was a cannon. About three seconds later, there is another explosion. People started screaming. I just grabbed my medal and ran straight ahead. I was terrified.”

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