News Trickles in from Iowans at Boston Marathon Explosion: 'It Was Going Downhill in a Hurry'

At least three are dead and over a hundred injured after explosions at the Boston Marathon Monday.

Update 10:30 p.m.

The number of reported casualties has risen after two explosions rocked the Boston Marathon Monday.

Three people had been reported dead Monday night, with over a hundred injured.

Read on for reports from around the state of Iowans who were in Boston when the bombs hit.


KWWL has a list of Iowans they have confirmed are safe. They report the following Cedar Falls and Waterloo people are safe after being in Boston during the explosions earlier today:

  • Joan Burns and Paul Burns of Iowa City and Cedar Falls
  • Sarah Halloran and Andrew Halloran of Cedar Falls
  • Mary Jo Goerdt and Terry Goerdt (and "Cheer Crew") of Waterloo 
  • Waterloo City Councilman Bob Greenwood
  • Hannah Walsh of Cedar Falls and Chicago

Update at 8:35 p.m.

Panic broke out and people were running away from the area of the finish line, where Heather McDermott and Meredith Johnson were cheering on their husbands.

They heard frenzied shouts, Matt McDermott said: “It was a bomb! It was a bomb!”

“It was a surreal thing to hear those blasts, to see people running and the confusion at the scene,” he said. “We figured if nothing else, we need to go upstairs and wait this out and see what happened. We didn’t bother with elevator, took the stairs right up to the fourth floor.”

By late afternoon Monday, they had not been allowed to leave the Fairmont Hotel, which remained on lockdown.

Another West Des Moines runner, Paxton Bennett, said he decided to "suck it up" and skip the post-marathon massage. It was a good call. If he hadn't left the area, he likely would have been in the area where the explosions occurred.

Update at 7:29 p.m.

From the 33rd floor of their room in Westin Copley Place Boston Hotel, Urbandale resident Tom Mertz and his wife watched the carnage unfold after two explosions brought the celebratory atmosphere of the marathon to an abrupt end.

Mertz said he heard what sounded like an M-80 firecracker going off in a garbage can, then another.

“When the second one went off, we could see windows blown out and that it was going downhill in a hurry,” he said. “People were losing their legs in the blast or being killed. ... It’s just unreal, a crazy situation.”

Update at 5:55 p.m.

Cedar Falls police officer Brooke Krantz is OK after running in the Boston Marathon, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier has reported.

Her father Rich Carlson, of Waterloo, told the Courier he had heard from his daughter.


Iowans are waiting for news from loved ones Monday following two explosions that rocked the Boston Marathon.

The blasts occurred just before 3 p.m. eastern time, according to MyFoxBoston.

Boston Police are reporting dozens injured and two dead, according to BackBay Patch, but their names have not yet been released.

According to the Boston Marathon website, 158 Iowans were racing. Find the full list at http://www.baa.org/individual.html, where you can search for runners by city and state.

Many Iowan runners have been confirmed safe. Others have not been reached, with reports of overloaded cell networks making communication difficult.

Google has created this site to find/provide information on people at the scene: http://google.org/personfinder/2013-boston-explosions/

Here is a phone number for people to call to check on friends and family: 617-635-4500. If anyone saw anything suspicious or knows any information they are asked to call 1-800-494-TIPS.

If you have heard from any family or friends in Boston, leave a comment to let us know.

KWWL has a list of Eastern Iowans they've heard have been confirmed safe.

Here are some reports from Patch websites around Iowa:

Urbandale Man at Marathon: 'It Was Somewhat Controlled Mayhem'

Kimberly Baeth of Urbandale describes the scene near the finish line of the Boston Marathon as something from a horror movie after at least two explosions rocked the site Monday afternoon.

Baeth and her husband, Kevin, were at the marathon, she was less than a mile from the finish when the bombs detonated. She told Urbandale Patch that Kevin was waiting for her to complete the race only 100 yards from the bomb site.

The couple is uninjured, but she describes the scene as "blood everywhere. A total sense of shock at first, and so many scared people trying to find their lived ones," Kimberly wrote in a Facebook message.

West Des Moines Boston Marathon Runner: 'It Was A Pretty Darned Close Call'

Kelly Sorenson of West Des Moines finished moments before explosions rocked the marathon.

“It was a pretty darned close call,” the mother of three told West Des Moines Patch in a phone interview from her room in an international hostel. “I didn’t hear or see anything. I missed it by a couple of minutes.”

Johnston Man at Boston Marathon Says He's 'Fine; It Was Chaos'

Daniel Blondowski, of Johnston, and his wife are in Boston for the marathon, he ran the race and she watched.

He told Johnston Patch via Facebook: "We are fine. We were a couple of blocks away standing on the street. We heard a couple of explosions a couple of seconds apart...sounded like a thunderstorm but the sky was clear."

He added, "It was chaos. Lots of confused/tired runners. People are unable to get their belongings now from the buses. Many hotels are on the lockdown."

Report: 3 Cedar Falls Brothers Safe After Boston Marathon Explosions

Lisa Sevcik heard from her son Joseph Sevick that he and his brothers Daniel and David Sevick are safe, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports. The three were running with the Iowa State University running club.

Joey Sevcik posted this on Twitter: "All the Iowa State people with us are safe at the Boston Marathon. We had just left before the explosions."

Former Iowa Runner Nukuri-Johnson Reports She is Safe After Boston Marathon Explosion

Former University of Iowa runner and Iowa City resident Diane Nukuri-Johnson, who finished eighth overall among female participants, responded in an e-mail to Iowa City Patch that she was not harmed by the explosion. When asked for an account of the incident she declined:

I am ok. Thank you! I didn't see the explosions but I heard them. I am not allowed to give interviews and I didn't see anything. I am just watching on TV just like everybody else. Sorry I can't help

Boston Marathon Explosion: Ames Participants

More than 10 Ames residents were participating in the Boston Marathon Monday when bombs exploded about 2 p.m. central time. Members who are part of the Iowa State University Running Club are believed to be safe.

According to live results from the Boston Athletic Association runners from Ames included: Jamison Voss, 23; Kris Spoth, 25; Ryan Schafbuch, 27; John Pleasants, 64; James Michael, 28; Scott Johnson, 30; Melanie Holman, 20; Philip Hodges, 65; Mason Frank, 23; Evan Day, 22; and Nicole Davis, 25.

Marion Man Was Running in Boston Marathon when Race Was Marred by Explosion

The Boston Marathon website has a Christopher Jensen finishing 206th place with a time of 2 hours and 37 minutes. This would place him as finishing far before the explosion happened, but Jensen's current status is unknown.

Boston Marathon Explosion: 7 Ankeny Residents Participating

Seven Ankeny residents expected to participate in the Boston Marathon Monday when bombs exploded about 2 p.m. central time, killing two people and injuring 23 others.

People from Ankeny listed as participating in the Boston Marathon are Denise Carleton, 42, Katherine Flickinger, 29; Mark Hanson, 60; Cindy Harris, 40; Amy Justiniano, 41; Shane Mcmahon, 46; and Diane Nelson, 47.


Back Bay Patch, near Boston, has live updates and local coverage:

Scores Injured by Explosion at Boston Marathon Finish Line

Here's a Washington Post map of where the explosions happened.

Iowa Patch editors Megan VerHelst, Stephen Schmidt, Jessica Miller, Beth Dalbey, B.A. Morelli and Deb Belt also contributed to this story.


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