EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

April 24, 2013

Finish line denied, marriage proposal delayed

Jump: headline headline headline Rachel Dowd did get the thrill of a lifetime at the Boston Marathon last week. It just wasn’t the thrill she expected.

Because of the explosions on Boyston Street, near the finish line, she wasn’t able to get that “rush” runners get when they finish the Boston Marathon.

What she didn’t realize was that she was missing out on another thrill, as her boyfriend was waiting for her at the finish line ready to propose to her.

The 26-year-old Dowd, running for the Morgan Memorial Goodwill Youth Initiative, was competing in her first marathon and excited about finishing in a respectable four hours.

“I was in one of the first rows of people when we were stopped and we didn’t know why,” said Dowd. “Then we heard that there were explosions and then after a little while we heard there were bombs.

“Then it got crazy. A lot of people were upset, some (runners) were getting sick or passing out, others were shivering. Nobody knew what to do.

“I couldn’t get in touch with my family, which was at the finish line and I remember thinking that if they (terrorists) wanted to hurt people, they could hurt a lot of people. I sprinted to Boylston Street but they wouldn’t let me get there. I was texting and calling like crazy but I was losing power and couldn’t get through. A woman, who I found out was from Canada, stopped and helped me and I was at least able to get through with her phone.”

Just as panicky were Dowd’s family and boyfriend, Steven Polizzotti of Dracut, her brother John and his girlfriend and her best friend from Salem High School, Atara Oven. They set out to find her.

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