Ky. runners in Boston Marathon express shock, sadness

kward1@herald-leader.com, lblackford@herald-leader.com, bestep@herald-leader.comApril 15, 2013 

Dr. Ronald Dubin was about five miles from finishing the Boston Marathon on Monday when police began telling runners to get off the course and onto the sidewalks.

"They wouldn't answer questions as to what was happening," he said. "I didn't know what was going on."

Dubin, an orthopedic surgeon with offices in Middlesboro and Corbin, said he saw police cars driving fast down the road and then buses carrying military people.

Soon after, he learned about the explosions at the finish line through calls from family members and friends wanting to check on him.

His first reaction was disbelief.

"Marathons are pretty idyllic places, especially Boston," said Dubin, who was running the Boston Marathon for the 10th time. "Nothing like this can happen at the Boston Marathon. But it did."

Dubin, 61, said a nice older couple along the route invited him and another doctor with whom he was running to come into their home and rest.

He watched coverage of the blast in their basement, and the couple later drove him back to his hotel.

Dubin said he was met by armed guards who verified that he was staying there.

"Downtown is completely dead right now," Dubin said later Monday.

The Boston Marathon's website listed 120 Kentucky entrants; results were incomplete for 11, and it appeared that 20 might not have run.

At least 10 runners from Lexington were entered, and most were accounted for by Monday afternoon.

Six Lexington runners — Frank Romanelli, Joseph Pulliam, Varinka Ensminger, Cassandra Clark, Eric Endean and Jessica Knapp-Ziegler — were listed on the marathon's website as having crossed the finish line before the explosions.

Tom Butler of Lexington registered for the race but did not run because he was injured beforehand.

Fredrick R. Jackson, 61, also was listed as being from Lexington. On Monday afternoon, his daughter-in-law posted an update on his Facebook page saying, "Thank goodness he is OK."

"I am OK at hotel about 2 miles from Finish line," Romanelli said in a posting on his Facebook profile. "It's a bad scene for this special Race. Feel for the runners on the course and all those Volunteers that were working the Race just for us".

Friends and family members back home quickly turned to Facebook and cellphones to try to confirm the whereabouts of loved ones in the aftermath of the bombings.

Cindy Hanes, office manager for Monticule Farm on Harp Innis Pike, where Knapp-Ziegler is sales director, said she sent Knapp-Ziegler a text as soon as she heard about the explosions.

Knapp-Ziegler had finished before the incident.

"She's fine," Hanes said.

A group of Louisville runners including former Louisville Cardinal Michael Eaton and 2012 Boston Marathon winner Wesley Korir reported that they were safe.

Louisville cross country track and field coach Ron Mann was coaching both runners. Korir was leading at the 22-mile mark before finishing fifth with a time of 2:12:30.

Mann said in a statement Monday night that "we are fine."

"We appreciate the support from everyone who has reached out to us," he said. "Our hotel is under lockdown right now. It's about 50 meters from the finish line."

Brian Hancock, a University of Kentucky senior from Louisville, said there were officers with machine guns in his hotel's lobby.

Hancock crossed the finish line about an hour before the first blast.

"I had just gotten up to my hotel room," he said. "We kind of heard one boom, and then we heard a second, louder boom."

He said he and his family, who were staying at a hotel five blocks away, looked out the window and saw smoke, then people running. They learned what had happened after turning on the television.

Hancock said downtown Boston was "kind of like a ghost town" Monday night.

"People work really hard to make it a positive event," said Hancock, 22, who coaches the distance track team at Tates Creek High School. "To have one or two people ruin it entirely today ... is just sad and frustrating."


In response to the explosions at the marathon, Google created a people-finder, which is available at Google.org/personfinder/2013-boston-explosions.

Search for individual entrants' results on the Boston Marathon website, Raceday.baa.org/individual.html.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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