South End Marathoner: ‘It Was Surreal’

Boston marathoner Art Mercurio said he first got wind that there was something wrong up ahead by mile 24 or 25 in Boston. 

Half an hour after the two blasts went off at the finish line, he and thousands of other runners were stopped and re-routed at Mass. Ave and Commonwealth Ave.

But he still didn’t know what had actually happened.

“We asked police officers what had happened, and they weren’t sure themselves,” he said. “It was very chaotic.”

Although Mercurio wasn’t in the area of the explosions, his wife and son were.

“They witnessed the explosions and went running into the Prudential Center,” he said. “And luckily, they kept on walking right back home to the South End right away.”

Meanwhile, Mercurio, who had left his cell phone in his bag at the finish line, had no way of reaching his family to hear if they were okay, and to tell them he was okay. Eventually he was able to borrow a cell phone to check in with them, and he was later allowed to pick up his bag with his possessions. 

“It didn’t sink in right away when it first happened,” he said. “It just seemed surreal. It was so hard to comprehend that this could happen at the marathon – that it could be so devastating when everything else was so beautiful and peaceful,” he said. 

But as time has gone on, Mercurio said accepting the true gravity of the situation has been taking its toll. 

“Fortunately, no one I know was injured, but I just feel so bad for the victims,” he said. “It’s horrible.”

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