It was the culmination of a dream for Seattle runner Trish Keaton. The finish line of the Boston Marathon was less than a mile away. Suddenly, the world changed.
“It was so loud my first thought actually was that it was a cannon,” Keaton said of the first explosion that went off several hundred yards ahead in an interview with KIRO Radio’s Andrew Walsh Show.
Keaton envisioned a celebration at the finish line, something along the lines of the Seafair Pirates. A bomb was the farthest thing from her mind.
“Just as I’m reacting and processing that, the second one went off, which was much closer to me. And not only the smoke came up, but also I saw flames,” said Keaton.
Suddenly, the runners stopped, panic filled the air, and police rushed in.
“I’ve never heard a blast that loud. It was incredible,” said Keaton.
The next thing Keaton knew, a crowd was running toward them from the finish line and the blast sites. Among them, a young man who had clearly been close to the explosion. It was a horrifying site.
“I have never seen anything like this. This poor boy, his clothes were blown off him, practically. And he was covered with blood from head to toe.”
Keaton put her arm around the young man and tried to comfort him. A medic quickly rushed over and led him to help.
Stunned, Keaton quickly called her husband. She was relieved to hear several friends also running had already finished or were behind her.
The scene was shocking and surreal. Keaton said it reminded her of 9/11, as the runners and tens of thousands of spectators were forced to walk en masse out of the city center and across Boston area bridges.
As she finally caught her breath, Keaton admitted what was supposed to be one of the crowning achievements of her life would forever be remembered for something awful instead.
“It’s hard because I can’t get rid of that visual of those bombs going off,” she said. “Now it’s just this bomb explosion.”