Sherwood runner recounts being minutes from finish line during explosion

Andrew Becker wanted to run Monday's Boston Marathon to improve his race time over last year's, when runners were stymied by record heat.

As it turned out, Becker was four or five minutes away from finishing the race when suddenly he heard loud explosions.

"This is one day I'm glad I wasn't running any faster," the 66-year-old Sherwood resident later reflected by telephone.

Minutes after the explosion, police came to block the marathon course off and runners, including Becker, were routed around the explosion to pick up their gear at baggage buses. No one knew why, however.

Becker said at the time he thought the explosion, which sounded distinctly like two cannons, had something to do with the fact that it was Patriot's Day in Massachusetts.

He recalled that he was just about to run onto Boylston Street, but could not see the explosion.

"At first I thought it might have been a reenactment of a Revolutionary War type thing," he said.

When Becker went to pick up his gear, police swarmed the area, saying they were concerned there could be a bomb on the bus. They told everyone to evacuate the area.

Considering there were 27,000 runners participating, Becker said he was especially shocked by the bombings.

"This is a day may of us really work hard to run in the Boston Marathon and there's a great comradeship among all runners," he said. "And to know that someone would do something like this to injure runners and spectators in an event that's considered one of the best marathons in the world, people are just shocked, just subdued."

Becker said his heart goes out to all the runners and spectators who weren't as fortunate as he was.

"Running is nice, but that's not what important," he said. "It's just unfortunate that innocent people lost their lives at an event that was supposed to be a great day for the community of Boston."