April 16, 2013
Thirty one Charlottesville area runners were in Boston for the marathon on Monday. All of them are safe and sound after Monday's explosion. Tuesday, many of them are arriving home to Charlottesville.
Mike Gaffney was one of the first of many runners to make it home after the marathon Tuesday. He was one of the 27,000 people running in the Boston Marathon overall.
Gaffney described his initial reaction, "At first, it was, total disbelief that this really can't be happening. Then, when you see that it's real and you see the injuries and people being carried you know it's real and then you're scared. You're scared for your friends your scared for others. You're afraid there's more explosions that are going to happen and make it even worse. And, then you think, do you get out of there?"
Today he is safe and sound and Gaffney said, "It is wonderful to be in Charlottesville, right now."
As the explosions were happening on Monday, Gaffney was already back at his hotel. He started receiving text messages from concerned family members and friends. It wasn't until then that he found out what had happened.
Gaffney said, "I turned on the TV and saw it right there and very, very concerning and confusing to all of us because we still had runners who were out on the course from out Charlottesville group."
Ian Van Der Hoven is the president of the UVa Club Cross Country Team. He was here in Charlottesville but five of his teammates were in Boston running.
Van Der Hoven said, "We are a tight knit group so we were all trying to contact each other. Trying to see what information we could get. I know I left class and got out of that. Trying to contact people and try to coordinate things."
All 31 of the Charlottesville runners are safe and making their way back home. Both Gaffney and Van Der Hoven say that these explosions aren't going to hold them back for future races or, even, the Boston Marathon next year.
Van Der Hoven said, "It's not going to stop anyone from running these races. They are just such great events that bring everyone together."
Gaffney said, " I think it's going to make us even more adamant about going back and showing our love for Boston and the people of Boston and being there again."
A group of Charlottesville runners, including Van Der Hoven, are planning to hold some sort of Boston benefit run in the coming weeks.