ON MONDAY (April 15th) Lewis lass Christina Mackenzie beat her personal best marathon time by eight minutes, completing a gruelling 26.6miles in three hours and 22 minutes.
Little did she know then as she crossed the finish line, collected her medal and refreshments and made her way back to her Boston hotel, that her speed meant she had escaped a scene which a little over an hour later saw two bomb explosions kill three people and injure over 100 more during the annual Boston Marathon.
“I was staying at Boston Common, two subway stations away from the finish line,” said Christina, originally from Stornoway who know lives in Malahide, Ireland.
“I didn’t hear or know about the explosions till I was back at the hotel and my friends from Stornoway alerted me to it to check if I was okay.
“Once in the hotel though I could hear constant sirens then cries of hysterics from some other runners.”
The Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, on the east coast of North America, is the oldest and most prestigious race of its kind in the USA.
The cause or those responsible for Monday’s explosions are still under investigation, but the attack came on Patriot’s Day, the States annual celebrations commemorating the first major battle of the Revolutionary War.
Disturbingly, the explosions occurred five hours after the marathon start – at a time when most professional runners were clear of the finish line, but the slower, amateur runners were still going – and reports state that two further unexploded devises were found by authorities nearby.
Of the 25,000 runners which took to the start lines on Monday, 347 were Britons, like Christina, who had travelled to take part in the esteemed event.
And, as with Christina, many had enjoyed the Marathon Expo held the day before and, with hindsight, seemingly little security.
Christina expands: “There were no concerns that I was aware of. I had been to the Expo the day before and went to the finish line and watched a live broadcast from there.
“There was no additional security. At the Expo I had two show my registration card and passport, but that was just to pick up my number. I was able to view the finish line and seating area without any concern, I took pictures of the area and had no one check any bags or ID there.”
On Monday and back at her hotel with the marathon completed and the tragic news received, Christina quickly contacted friends and family to assure them she was okay before driving to the further safety of her cousin’s house in South Hadley, 90 miles from the city and scene of the explosions.
But what should have been a happy celebration of human achievement had turned into a day of terror and tragedy, as Christina expanded: “Once back at the hotel with the other runners we were all in complete shock! It was the last thing we expected! There was news then that it was a possible gas explosion, never did we imagine that it was malicious!”
She added: “I would like to say though that going from one emotion to another, the hotel door and concierge staff were excellent.”