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posted: 4/15/2013 7:37 PM

Safe suburban runners report from Boston

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Daily Herald report

Arlington Heights Mayor-elect Thomas Hayes, who finished the marathon about an hour before the blasts near the finish line, reports back this afternoon that he is fine.

"I was out of the area before I found out about it," said Hayes, who has run nine Boston Marathons and more than 20 marathons overall.

Hayes, who ran the race in 3:39:25, was on an airplane at Logan International Airport, planning to fly back and attend tonight's village board meeting.

Also safe is Ryan Trippichio, 24, the assistant track coach at Streamwood High School. Trippichio, who finished the marathon in 2:59:03, had left the area by the time of the explosions and was already on a plane home by 4 p.m. Chicago time. He learned of what had happened from family and friends on the phone while on his way back to his hotel to shower.

His fifth marathon, Trippichio said the possibility of such a tragedy had never entered his mind.

"This town has been A+ to all the people coming in this weekend," Trippichio said. "They did not deserve for this to happen."

Vernon Hills Village Trustee Mike Marquardt, running in his fourth Boston Marathon, finished the race about a half-hour before the explosions. He had picked up his post-race information and was unaware of what had happened until he got back to his room at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers, a few blocks away.

"It probably occurred basically when I got to the room. We turned on the TV and heard about," Marquardt said, speaking from a cab on his way to the airport for a return flight home.

"I'm fine," he said. "It's a little bit of mass confusion. We're not far so there are ambulances going back and forth."

Marquardt was among a group of nine from the North Shore Distance Running Club in Lake Forest.

"Six of us are fine. I'm not sure about the other three," Marquardt said.

"It's been tough getting calls out or in," he added.

Marquardt said he completed the race in 3 hours and 30 minutes. He described that as a "decent" time -- not his best -- but statistics didn't mean much.

"The joy of doing this race and finishing has no joy anymore," he said.

Matt Villicana, 28, of Western Springs, completed the race about an hour before the blasts. He was taking a nap at his hotel about four blocks away when the explosions occurred.

"The building shook and the windows were rattling and I could hear the blast loud and clear from here," he said.

Villicana said he knew the noise didn't sound right and decided to stay put in the hotel while trying to comprehend what was happening.

"I'm just grateful I wasn't there," he said. "They could have done a lot more damage had they detonated (the explosion devices) earlier."

Villicana said everyone from his group -- the Schaumburg-based Dick Pond Fast Track Racing Team -- was accounted for, but it was "pretty frantic" trying to track down one last runner because of the lack of cellphone service. The group eventually found her through texts and posts on Facebook, he said. Between 20 and 30 runners from the group had plans for dinner tonight, but Villicana said now they will likely just be "hunkering down" in the hotel.

"This kind of put a big damper on everything," he said.

Experience Triathlon, a Naperville-based running group, posted a message to runners involved in the marathon on its Facebook page.

"Our athletes and families at the Boston Marathon are all safe and sound after the explosions," the post reads.

Carla Axt-Pilon, 51, a teacher at Granger Middle School in Aurora, on Monday afternoon texted a co-worker that she is fine, according to Indian Prairie Unit District 204 spokeswoman Janet Buglio.

Other Naperville runners are responding to the Naperville Running Company's Facebook page where they have posted a message that states:

"Boston participants, spectators, volunteers and families, please comment on this post to keep us up to date! Let us know you're ok!"

Hawthorn Woods resident Al Scaletta said he won't let Monday's explosion deter him from entering the premier race for an 11th time next year.

"It just makes you angry," said Scaletta, 51, just minutes before his return flight to Chicago was set to depart.

Scaletta finished the marathon in 3 hours 37 minutes. He walked about 15 minutes past the finish line when he heard what turned out to be the explosions.

"It was like a ka-boom," Scaletta said.

Scaletta boarded a subway train in downtown Boston for the airport, but it was held for a while when it reached the Copley Square stop in the neighborhood where the explosions occurred. He said he learned what had happened at the stop.

After the train restarted, Scaletta reached the airport for his flight. He said the authorities he encountered were "calm and professional."

Rich Siok Jr., of Elk Grove Village, finished the race almost two hours before the explosions and did not hear about it until he had had lunch and returned to his hotel.

"I'm not scared, but I did get a tear in my eye watching some of this stuff and thinking I was just there an hour earlier," he said. "We were just saying Boston is so wonderful. This is very sad, horrible."

Janice Weiss of Arlington Heights said her husband, Mitchell and his brother, David, did not hear about the explosions until they were back in their hotel.

After trying to call her several times, Mitchell contacted his wife via email, she said.

• Daily Herald staff writers Melissa Silverberg, Jessica Cilella, Eric Peterson, Justin Kmitch, Bob Susnjara, Robert Sanchez, Dave Oberhelman and Mick Zawislak contributed to this report.

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