Myrtle Beach area runner Bruce Gregory completed the Boston Marathon Monday just 30 minutes before two explosions went off at the finish line.
Gregory, a senior associate athletics director at Coastal Carolina University, said his wife, Tracy, was standing on the same side of the finish line where the explosions occurred just before 3 p.m.
The pair were back in their Boston area hotel room before 5 p.m. Monday and watching the events unfold on television, after having walked from the race area.
Gregory, one of several Grand Strand runners who participated in the run, said he shudders thinking about what could have been if the explosions happened 30 minutes sooner.
“It’s absolutely frightening to watch the video right now,” he said.
Horrific was the order of the day for those taking part in the Boston Marathon. The two blasts occurred at 2:50 p.m., killing two people and injuring 49.
Gregory and his wife walked away from the race area and had reached Boston Common when the explosions occurred.
“Literally everyone in the park just stopped in their tracks, turned and looked,” he said.
The Gregorys headed for the subway at Park Street Station to get back to their hotel, but he said Boston police quickly started shouting for everyone to evacuate the subway.
“They told us there was two explosions and they were shutting down the entire green line,” Gregory said.
Gregory wasn’t the only Grand Strand runner in Boston at the time of the explosions.
At least eight runners from the Grand Strand area were slated to race in the Boston Marathon today, according to the race’s website and seven reported through Facebook or friends that they were safe after finishing the race ahead of the first explosion.
Jim Troxell, race director for the Grand Strand Running Club, said all updates he’s gotten are that the six club members who took part in the marathon have been accounted for.
Transit service in the Boston area, Troxell added, was suspended and the runners were walking back to where they were staying.
“Imagine running 26.2 miles and then having to walk,” he said.
The Rev. Joseph Washington lived in the Boston area for 20 years, but now lives in Myrtle Beach. He wasn’t in this year’s race but ran the Boston Marathon in 2011. As soon as he watched the reports about the explosions Monday afternoon he said he started calling friends in Boston.
“Fortunately, everybody I’ve contacted is fine,” he said. “None of them was near the finish line. But everybody’s shocked.”
Washington said the Boston Marathon is a staple event for the city.
“This is the day in Boston every year. It doesn’t get much better,” he said. “The Boston Marathon is bigger than St. Patrick’s Day. This is the day Boston shines. Whoever is behind this evil act really understood what was going on in Boston.”
The Sun News worked Monday to check on the safety of all of the area’s runners.
The Sun News’ Issac Bailey contributed to this story.