By ROBIN CAUDELL
---- — ROUSES POINT — Twenty-six seconds of silence was observed for each of those slain in the Newtown school massacre at the start of the 2013 Boston Marathon.
As Mary K. Duprey stood among the 23,336 in Runners Village in Hopkinton, she looked around.
“It just runs through your head in a minute,” the Rouses Point woman said. “This would be perfect target for somebody to do a terrorist act with all these people in one spot at one time.
“That kind of flashes in your head and goes away, and you get involved in the moment of the race.”
This was Duprey’s first Boston Marathon; wearing bib number 20023, she ran Monday’s race with an official time of 3:50:49.
“It went quite well,” she said. “My legs started to cramp out at 13 miles. I could feel them starting to get a little tight in my quads.”
But otherwise, she crossed the finish line without incident.
But then her premonition unfolded in twin bombings that killed three and injured more than 180 people.
“My actual target time was four hours, which, had I not run as well, I would have hit the four hours, and that would have been right at the time the explosions went off.”
She was three blocks away when she heard the first blast.
“I couldn’t see the people. I saw the smoke. I heard it. You felt it. I was reaching up to the bus to get my bag out of it. I had my back to the explosion.
“I thought, ‘Gee that was a cannon.’ I thought it was something they did at the race, until I turned around and saw the smoke.”
A man next to her said, “That’s not right. Something’s wrong.”
“Then, we heard the second explosion go off. I still was not thinking a bomb. I was thinking maybe a gas line.”
FRANTIC FRIENDS, FAMILY
Duprey, 53, called her husband, Gerry, on her cellphone; he was at the family-meeting area two blocks away and parallel to Boylston Street, where the pressure-cooker explosives detonated.
“I said, ‘Did you hear that? What is it?’
“He said, ‘I don’t know.’ He couldn’t see anything. The buildings concealed the smoke from him, where I had a straight view of the smoke.”
Five minutes after the second explosion, they met up.
“No one still knew exactly what was going on. There was not a lot of panic where we were.”
As they walked to their car, they heard the sirens of the first responders.
“We still didn’t officially know it was a bomb until we were walking back to the car,” Mary said.
Frantic friends and family called and texted to find out if they were OK.
“Then, we just got in the car and said, ‘Let’s get out of here.’ We were early enough that we were not stopped trying to leave. But as we were leaving, we saw the S.W.A.T Teams coming in with all that gear on.”
As the Dupreys listened to the newscasts, they thought they were pretty lucky, very fortunate. They listened to the radio the entire trip back to Rouses Point.
“I guess it’s just the state of human nature,” Mary said.
“(But) what is going wrong with people that they have to do stuff like this? You just feel terrible for the people who lost their lives, their families and the people who got injured.
“You thank God that all those emergency personnel were right there. I think a lot more lives would have been lost if all that support had not been there.”
Gerry, 67, ran the Boston Marathon two years ago.
“I hadn’t planned on running another marathon,” he said. “After this, I feel we have to. I feel I have to do this.
“We’re not going to let these type of people rule our lives. Once we fold to them, it’s just going to keep on going. I want to keep our lifestyle in the United States. Freedom is important to me.
“I’m going to run it, because I can.”
He’s confident he will qualify for next year’s race.
“It’s just a pure sport, so much a grassroots type of sport, it’s such a shame that it happened there ... those innocent people getting killed and hurt,” Gerry said.
Email Robin Caudell:firstname.lastname@example.org