April 17, 2013
A doctor at the University of Virginia is back home safely this week after completing the Boston Marathon shortly before the bombs exploded.
And George Rich plans to return next year.
"I think most serious marathoners strive to run Boston," he said. "The entire way, you're cheered on by crowds, as many as 10 people deep in certain areas."
He finished the race on Monday and was about to leave with his wife and brother when the unthinkable happened.
"It was just pandemonium in the city," he said. "It was just police and ambulances everywhere."
Rich and his family were a few blocks away when two bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three people.
"This was the furthest thing from my mind when I finished, and even when I heard there was an explosion, I just assumed it was a gas line or something like that," Rich said. "To believe that there's a terrorist event at the Boston Marathon, it's like, who could've imagined that?"
He and more than two dozen other runners attending the marathon from the Charlottesville area all were OK.
"It's disappointing," Rich said. "You take such an incredibly exciting, fun event, and you turn it into a tragedy."
But the tragedy isn't deterring Rich from returning next year, especially now that the marathon runs in the family. His daughter won the Charlottesville Marathon earlier this month and has qualified for Boston.
"I want the experience of running what I consider the best marathon in the world -- I want that experience with my daughter," Rich said.
Rich said 2014 will be his fifth -- and likely final -- Boston Marathon.
"I know there's going to be a lot of nervousness next year. But I intend to be there," he said. "I just -- I don't think you can let terrorism change the world."