Two Los Gatos residents who raced in the Boston Marathon are safely home now, recounting tales of horror mixed with determination and a better appreciation of life.
Marathoners Christine Kennedy and Lori Beveridge both crossed the finish line before the bombs went off, but Beveridge was still nearby--crossing just six minutes ahead of the blasts.
"We heard a big explosion and we all jumped," Beveridge said. "Then seconds later there was another explosion. The biggest emotion was shock because you didn't know where to go."
Beveridge spent two hours looking for friends from Los Gatos who were in Boston with her. "I was just walking around and walking around," she said. "They immediately stopped the race and moved the runners to a safer location. I've never seen anything like it. I can't get it out of my head."
Beveridge said first responders, including the FBI, National Guard and race volunteers, were "phenomenal."
Back home, family members watched TV reports in horror, worry growing all the time. "My family was upset because they thought I was in harm's way," Beveridge said. "My daughter was watching TV at work and saw the blasts. She started shaking and kept trying to call me. She managed to get through before they shut off the phones."
Beveridge flew home April 16. Before boarding in Boston, personnel from the Department of Homeland Security asked Beveridge if she had any photographs or videos that might help their
investigation, but the photos she has show a smiling Beveridge running the course before the explosions.
Now Beveridge, who experienced the nightmare of exorbitant medical bills when one of her daughters became sick, wants to help people who were injured in Boston. She is currently researching nonprofit organizations that are active there and plans to donate all the proceeds from a four-week boot camp that started April 22 at the Los Gatos Lodge, 50 Los Gatos-Saratoga Road.
Beveridge owns Couture Conditioning and is also a personal trainer (visit coutureconditioning.com for more information).
Athletic Performance owner Christine Kennedy crossed the marathon finish line a little over an hour before the bombs blasted. "I was down in the subway and there was a lot of pandemonium," Kennedy said. "We didn't know what had happened. When I got to my hotel the doorman said, 'I'm glad you're OK.' It was just horrific."
Kennedy, too, had difficulty reuniting with her friends. "I was really surprised to find that I didn't have any of my friends' phone numbers," she said. "When we travel, it's really important to have the numbers of the people you're with. One of my teammates from San Jose didn't get back to the hotel until 8 p.m., so I was really worried."
Since Kennedy returned home, Athletic Performance customers have been streaming into the store at 55 W. Main St. to give her hugs. "Everyone has been so caring. I'm so thankful for all the people who have been getting in touch with me," she said.
Perhaps the most touching moment for Kennedy came on the morning after the explosions, when she observed her daughter and a friend sleeping peacefully. "I thought, 'I'm so lucky I can wake up this morning and see those girls sleeping.' We're not going to be afraid."
That same determination is echoed by Beveridge, who wrote on her Facebook page that "there will not be fear or tolerance for this ugly and sick cowardliness. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. God bless Boston, the East Coast and all of America."
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