Local Boston Marathon runner recounts day of tragedy - WRBL

Local Boston Marathon runner recounts day of tragedy

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Jessica Ridley Jessica Ridley
COLUMBUS, GA -

Local runners who were at the Boston marathon Monday have begun the trek home. A 21-year-old college student from Phenix City made it back safely with her fiancé Monday evening.

Jessica Ridley said she and her fiancé are both thankful and feel blessed to be unharmed. They woke up early Monday morning and made their way to the start line. She remembered it was cold, but everyone was excited to begin the 26.2 mile course.

Ridley said it started like any other marathon. She reminded herself not to start out too fast. Runners were joking and trading secrets.  "At the beginning of the race it was a good atmosphere and during the race it was fun," Ridley reminisced.

But Ridley was also nervous. It was her first time running the Boston Marathon, a premiere event in the running world. "When someone attacks it, it's mainly like you're putting a damper on runners in general and that's like the only thing runner's look forward to."

Ridley finished the marathon in three hours seven minutes; about 45 minutes before the two explosions rocked the downtown area.

She and her fiancé were in a taxi riding back to a hotel when Ridley noticed several police cars and fire trucks headed towards the race. But she didn't know what was going on until she received an urgent call from her father.

"I just... was really kind of shocked and everything. My stomach started getting sick because I knew other people who were still at the course. They hadn't even left yet. So I was just really concerned and that's when we were trying to contact people, people were contacting me and it was... it was just a mess," Ridley said.

Local runners in Columbus also took the time Tuesday to commemorate those involved in the tragedy. Three flags were placed in front of the Big Dawg Running Company to honor the three victims who lost their lives.

Ridley said her pride in completing the race has been dampened because of the tragedy, but she hopes everyone can recover from it one day. "I just hope that whoever did it is caught and they find out why so it doesn't happen again years from now." She also hopes the explosion doesn't affect future marathons or participation.

Sydney Cameron

Sydney joined the WRBL news team in December 2011 after working as a freelance reporter in Washington, D.C. More>>

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