EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 17, 2013

Fear, panic were just around the corner

Spectators and runners tell their stories

For a long, painful, hour, Susan Marsh, 45, of Windham had no idea about the fate of her family.

Marsh, running her third Boston Marathon Monday, was stopped by police at mile 25 shortly after 3 p.m.

She walked for an hour, desperately trying to contact her three sons, parents and sister, who were sitting on the bleachers at the finish line on the opposite side of the street from the explosion. Her family sat in VIP seats because Marsh had raised more than $5,000 for the McCourt Foundation to benefit Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis research.

“The hardest part was that hour of not knowing if they were OK,” she said. “I knew they were on the bleachers. I knew they were exactly where the bomb was.”

Marsh was directed to walk to Boston Common.

“I didn’t have my cell phone with me, but people were generous and offered me their cell phone,” Marsh said. “There was some service ... after an hour, I finally was able to get in touch with my husband, who was working in Maryland. He told me that they had gone to a friend’s house in South Boston and they were safe.”

But Marsh still had to figure out how to get there and she didn’t even have a pen and paper to write down the South Boston address.

“I ended up writing the address on my leg with some lipstick I had,” she said.

Marsh borrowed money from someone at Boston Common and took a cab to South Boston. When she saw her children’s faces, the tears welled up.

“It was just unspeakable tears from everyone,” Marsh said.

They were at explosion spot 90 minutes earlier

Jony Perez last saw a Boston Marathon in person about 20 years ago.

A former cross country runner and captain at Greater Lawrence Tech, he took his wife, Argentina, and daughters, Joargy Marie, 13, Jone Mariah, 12, and Joba Mia, 4, near the finish line.

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