Everyone was there to support each other
Mondays Boston Marathon marked a personal triumph for top long-distance runner Chris Estwanik, who came home in a Bermuda record time of two hours, 19 minutes and 55 seconds.
But all thoughts of success and celebration quickly evaporated for the 33-year-old business executive after the event became mired in tragedy.
Both Mr Estwanik and his wife Ashley had completed the gruelling 26.2-mile course well before two bomb explosions went off just yards from the race finish line, killing three spectators and injuring scores more.
Last night the couple, who are now back in Bermuda, said the attacks had initially made them question their faith in humanity — but that they also realised that, amid the scenes of destruction, they also witnessed great kindness.
Its always a huge day for Boston, theres such a lot of work that needs to go into organising the marathon and the whole city has to come together to make it work, Mr Estwanik said.
But it does work — I cant believe how well the event is coordinated and Bostonians play a tremendous part in that. So when something like this happens, well, Ive had a lot of time to think about it and these sorts of situations make you question human nature — how can we do things like this to each other?
Mr and Mrs Estwanik spent much of Monday evening in lockdown in a restaurant just a few hundred metres from where the bombs exploded.
There were runners who didnt have their bags or wallets and the restaurant was giving them complimentary meals, Mr Estwanik said.
Everyone was trying to help, everyone was coming together. It was a bit like Bermuda in that way, when we have a national emergency, everyone is there to support each other. We even had people apologising to us for what had happened in their city and I heard of runners going into hospitals volunteering to give blood.
So, even though it was sad and sickening, as an eternal optimist, I still want to believe that there is some good in the world.
If the intent of the people who did this was to mess in some way with the spirit of marathon runners, they have picked the wrong group because were very resilient people who are going to come out of this with a much greater appreciation of life and of each other.
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