Judith Reinhart was on pins and needles.
“That’s one way of putting it,” she said. “When you think your husband’s been in an explosion, you gotta scratch your head.”
Reinhart, a 1967 Nursing graduate, said of her husband Richard, also a Penn graduate, “He had no clothes, no phone, no money, no credit card … But he’s fine. That’s the biggest concern, because I didn’t hear from him for three hours.”
Shaken, yes. But the Reinharts were seemingly spared, like the rest of the Penn community after Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon.
As of Monday evening, the University and Athletic Communications have not been made aware of any Penn athletes and affiliates injured in the attacks.
Two bombs detonated at the finish line at 2:50 p.m. on April 15, killing three and injuring over 100. An hour later, a third explosion was reported at John F. Kennedy Library, which police say is likely unrelated to the earlier explosions.
A handful of Penn alumni and graduates either ran in the marathon or were there to witness the devastation in Boston.
College sophomore Marc-Anthony Serrano was standing at Mile 21 — also known as Heartbreak Hill — on the Boston College campus cheering on his girlfriend and some family members. When the bombs went off, “spectators did their best to keep cheering on their loved ones (and strangers, too), but everyone, myself included, was obviously very distraught,” he said in an email.
Serrano’s girlfriend and her father were two blocks away from the explosion. At the time, bystanders dismissed the commotion as generic “city noise,” but soon, people knew something was wrong when the first responders arrived, he said.
“Up until that point, it was perfect weather for a marathon,” Keith Collins, a second-year Wharton MBA student, said. “There was never a mile where there wasn’t a giant crowd of people cheering. It felt like Boston really came out and shined for the race. It’s sad it turned out to be a tragedy like this.”
Collins, who ran the race with his fiancee, finished in under three hours and left the area about 10 to 20 minutes before the explosions.
2010 College graduate and master of science in Nursing student Shayleigh Dickson had finished with her friend about 40 minutes before the explosion.
This is Dickson’s third marathon, but her first one in Boston. “The marathon itself was exhausting, and there was added emotional drain from hearing that,” she said. “It definitely changes the mood of the marathon. It’s less celebratory.”
Up until two weeks ago, 2012 Engineering graduate Kaitlin Douglass had plans to run in the marathon but dropped out due to a knee injury. “When I woke up this morning, I cried because I was missing the race. Mere hours later and I am crying as I look at the horrific footage of what has occurred and for the pain I feel seeing the misery that others are experiencing,” she said in an email.
“For now, I can’t imagine thinking about whether or not I want to run the Boston Marathon some day, but I know that I can state as a member of the running community that we are a strong and resilient group,” she added.
According to marathon officials, 17,584 out of 23,326 runners finished before the bombs went off.
Sarah Watkins, a 2009 Nursing graduate and master of science in Nursing student, finished her first Boston marathon at exactly 1:59 p.m. on Monday, less than an hour before the first explosion.
“It’s hard to think about too the people who didn’t get to finish. I haven’t read anything yet but I believe they stopped the race, and people had to go meet at a family meeting area, and that would be pretty devastating after 18 weeks of training,” she said. “It’s terrible.”
College junior Stephanie Johnson, who qualified for Boston last year, withdrew from the race in January due to a foot injury.
“It’s just kind of sad that every time the Boston Marathon is run now, people will think about the tragedy.”
Although Johnson has yet to run the marathon, she’s confident that her first finish at the corner of Dartmouth and Boylston Streets won’t be quite the same now that so many of this year’s runners were left behind.
“I think it will probably put things in a different light,” she said. “Hopefully it will be something that empowers people.”
Senior staff writers Seth Zweifler and Mike Wisniewski contributed reporting.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.