After finishing the Boston Marathon Monday, suburban runner Ray Gobis wove through the crowds, looking for a spot to eat his post-race snack, when he was jolted by an explosion about 500 yards down the street.
"You could hear it and even feel it a little bit. I thought it was fireworks initially. It sounded just like a percussion bomb at Sox Park, that shakes your body when it goes off," said Gobis, a member of the Schaumburg-based Fast Track Racing Team, which trains at Dick Pond Athletics in Schaumburg, Harper College in Palatine and Runners High and Tri in Arlington Heights.
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"When the second (explosion) went off ... everyone was like, "What the heck?' I saw blue smoke. Then police in the area said, 'Everyone out.' People were not panicking at all, at least where I was. I thought it was like Fenway Park blowing off fireworks," said Gobis, an Oak Forest resident who had just completed his third Boston Marathon.
Gobis was among hundreds of runners from the suburbs who witnessed the horrific aftermath to the explosions.
He said he had to walk 3½ miles back to a friend's hotel room, since the train lines were shut down. As we walked, he wondered if there would be other explosions. "I thought, 'I should stay away from crowds,' at that point," he said.
The running team has since been involved in a flurry of phone calls, texts and Facebook posts, taking head counts. As far as he knows, everyone in his suburban running group who was at the marathon was accounted for, he said.