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Local runners finish before Boston Marathon explosions
This photo of (from left) sisters Katie Ritchie, Gina Craig and Kayla Smith was taken just before the first of two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday. The three UWPlatteville graduates ran to raise money for Wisconsin Badger Camp.

The Boston Marathon is the oldest and possibly best known marathon in the world.

Mandi Jacquinot of Platteville described Monday’s Boston Marathon as “one of the best days of my life, and one of the worst days of my life at the same time.”

About 40 minutes after Jacquinot crossed the finish line, two bombs went off near the finish line. At press time, three people were reported killed, including an 8-year-old boy, and 176 were injured.

The bombs went off at 2:50 p.m. Eastern time (1:50 p.m. Central time), three hours after the race winners had crossed the finish line, but while thousands of runners were still on the race course.

Jacquinot was one of several Southwest Wisconsin runners who ran Monday’s marathon.

Three UW–Platteville alumni ran to support Wisconsin Badger Camp — Kayla Smith, development/communications director for Badger Camp, and her sisters Katie Ritchie and Gina Craig.

“We were in Copley Square when the explosions happened — a little less than a block away from the first explosion,” said Smith. “We had just gotten to the family meeting area and found Gina.”

Craig finished the race in 3:02:08, and Smith and Ritchie finished in 3:31.06. The sisters raised more than $5,500 for Badger Camp, according to Badger Camp’s Facebook page.

“We were all obviously very excited and elated to have finished and [run personal records] in the Boston Marathon,” said Smith. “We had someone take a picture of us three, and that’s when we felt and heard the first explosion. Shortly after [that] we heard the second.”

Smith described it as “a very scary and chaotic situation. So many people looking for their family members.” She added that “Within minutes sirens and helicopters consumed the area.”

Jacquinot finished in 3 hours 42 minutes 35 seconds. With her at the race were her husband, Joe; her younger sister, Tori Dahlen; Jason Ehtessabian, a University of Iowa dental school classmate of Joe’s; and Ehtessabian’s fiancé, Morgan Witzel.

Jacquinot, who ran her 10th marathon Monday, was overwhelmed by the support of spectators throughout the 26.2-mile course. “The crowd was pulling me to run louder than my music was,” she said, adding that Boston is “the most amazing city I’ve ever been to.”

After the race, she said, “We had just asked a police officer how to get back to our hotel, and he said you better take the subway, and we were on at the subway station when it went off, maybe a half-mile or a mile away. My family heard it first, and they said it sounded like thunder, but it was a really nice day.”

The subway speaker announced the subway wasn’t stopping at a downtown station. A woman on the subway told her two children to get off because there had been an explosion. Jacquinot then saw a runner crying saying that 15 people had been injured in an explosion.

“But it didn’t really sink in until we were in our car and we could see what happened,” she said. “My phone had 30 messages on it.”

“One of the toughest parts was not knowing where our family was or where they were along the marathon route,” said Smith. “After 20 minutes and numerous failed attempts at calling our family we were able to get hold of them and all was safe. Cell phone service was cut — athletes evacuated — trains shut down.”

Jacquinot said social media was “a great way to stay connected to people and let them know we’re OK.”
Jeffrey Glasbrenner of Boscobel said on Facebook he “thankfully had a bad run” because he “would have finished around the time the bombs went off. They stopped us 25.9 miles into the marathon.”

Another runner with Grant County ties was Nora Morrey, a Muscoda native now living in Cottage Grove. Morrey’s family told the Tri-County Press in Cuba City that she was OK.

Morrey finished the race in 4:24:47.

“The volunteers, medical staff and security at the marathon were incredible,” said Smith. “They responded quickly and it was amazing to know that so many people came and helped during all of this.”