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Seattle-area runners still in shock ask, ‘Who would do this?’

“Who would do this?”

A lot of people are asking that question following the deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon, including Rob Ralph from Everett who was near the site of the first blast.

“I had several different feelings but mostly I was numb and then angry,” he says.

Rob and his wife Larissa are okay after being a block or two from the first bomb that went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Larissa, running her first Boston Marathon, had just crossed that line about a half hour before the first explosion. Ralph was standing near the site of one of the bombs with some friends while they waited for their wives to finish running.

“It was a deep blast, like nothing I’ve ever heard before,” he says. “I could feel the ground shake under my feet. I knew it wasn’t an accident and one of my first thoughts was ‘Who would do this?’ I still can’t imagine how anyone could do this.”

That was Faye Britt’s thought also. The Arlington school principal was running her fifth Boston Marathon when she saw people covered with blood “obviously in shock.” The scene reminded her of the September 11 terror attacks.

Video footage of the blast shows a runner, wearing an orange t-shirt and black shorts, being knocked to the ground because of the blast. That runner is a Lake Stevens man, Bill Iffrig. The 78-year-old runner was almost to the finish of his third Boston Marathon when the explosion went off. He has a scraped knee from the fall, but otherwise is fine physically.

“In a second it went from being a perfect, beautiful day to being something out of a movie except that it was real,” says Ryan Roan from Kirkland. He was in Boston to support a friend who was running the Marathon for a fourth time.

“The whole thing is unbelievable. I’m still in shock,” he says. “It makes me angry that something like this could happen. It’s not as devastating as 9/11, but to the people who were here it has shaken their worlds forever.”

Jason Campbell, of Seattle, was near the finish line when the blasts went off creating a chaotic scene.

“All of the sudden there were just tons and tons of people running away from where we just were,” he says. “So we joined in, and just started running.”

Mandy Wilson is a Tacoma artist who wasn’t planning on watching any of the race, but thought since she was in Boston for the special day she should walk a couple of blocks to the finish line not far from where she was staying with friends.

“I was there at the finish taking in view when ‘bang,’ out of nowhere I heard that sound and it seemed like about 20 seconds later there was a second explosion. It knocked me off my feet. Immediately there was blood everywhere,” Wilson says.

About 23,000 runners took part in the race, including over 500 registered from Washington state.


More on the bombings in Boston:

Seattle runner’s Boston Marathon shattered by blasts, blood
Find the latest on the investigation
City’s signature events on the mind of Seattle mayor
Do you get angry?

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