After spending much of the day at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Hinsdale resident Doug Kaplan was with the race's director Dave McGillivray at the starting line when they learned of the bombings.
"I run the race with Dave after it's over," Kaplan said. "This would have been his 41st race."
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Instead of running with a police escort for the 26.2 miles, Kaplan and McGillivray tore through the course with police to get to the site of the bombings.
"It was a beeline to the finish line," Kaplan recalled. "Within a couple blocks it was pretty chaotic."
Kaplan, who is publisher of the racing magazine "Competitor," said he hadn't seen McGillivray since then, only getting a text that simply said, "stay safe."
Kaplan was among a number of journalists locked down inside a nearby hotel awaiting word from race organizers. He hadn't had a lot of time to process all that had happened after the cellphone call giving McGillivray the news.
In the past, Kaplan's family has accompanied him on his trip to Boston for the marathon, but he said he was glad he'd come alone this time. About 15-20 staffers from the magazine had all been accounted for by late evening and had not been injured.
Kaplan was in the stands across the street from where the bombs went off about an hour before the explosions as the elite runners crossed the finish line.
"It's a very high-security event," he said. "There are police everywhere. They have bomb-sniffing dogs that patrol the area."
Kaplan said spectators have to go through a number of security checkpoints to get to the finish line area, as well.
"You feel pretty safe most of the time," he said. "The police did a full sweep of that area before 8 a.m. when the race started, so the backpacks would have had to be dropped after that."