Pinellas Judge Dee Anna Farnell speaks about Boston Marathon - WFLA News Channel 8

Pinellas Circuit Judge Dee Anna Farnell speaks about Boston Marathon explosions

Posted: Updated:
CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) -

Pinellas Circuit Judge Dee Anna Farnell says she was moments away from completing her 16th Boston Marathon when a series of explosions rocked the finish line and shut down the race.

"It was a good day to be slow for me," Farnell said.

The judge said she was running with an injury to keep her streak of marathons going and had to walk up "Heartbreak Hill" which slowed her progress and helped keep her out of harm's way.

"I was one of the first people they stopped," said Farnell.  Initially, she didn't realize what had happened. "I heard the explosion but didn't think anything of it," Farnell said.

Farnell is a recovering cancer victim and a consummate runner who has competed in 16 Boston Marathons.

She oversees the Pinellas drug court where Farnell encourages recovering addicts to live a healthier lifestyle based on her own personal example of physical fitness and perseverance despite adversity.

Farnell's courtroom inside the Pinellas Justice Center is bedecked in souvenirs from her many races.

Farnell described a chaotic scene after the Marathon as police filled the streets of Boston and rushed to the scene of the explosions by any means possible. "I saw law enforcement officers getting into taxis," Farnell said. "It was horribly surreal."

Farnell's husband, retired Pinellas Circuit Judge Crockett Farnell was waiting for her to complete the race at a location blocks removed from the finish line and was not in direct danger from the explosions, but Farnell said he was concerned about her welfare. 

"He was very worried because I never finished," Farnell said.

The judge said initially she had no way to communicate with anyone about her own well-being because her cell phone was on the bus that she planned to board after the race.

Her immediate personal concern when police stopped the Marathon was succumbing to hypothermia. Farnell said she started to get very cold as her core temperature dropped after the race.

Farnell said someone handed her a space blanket to keep her warm until she was able to walk half a dozen blocks to reunite with her husband and other supporters who are in Boston to cheer her on.

Farnell said Sunday she was sitting in the same viewing stands mangled by Monday's explosions  so that she could support a friend who ran a 5k race.  "Is this just God awful, or what," said Farnell.

Just a few hours after the Marathon, Farnell said she was still having difficulty making sense of the explosions and resulting chaos as she spoke to Newschannel Eight Reporter Mark Douglas from inside a Boston restaurant.

As she recounted the day's events on her husband's cell phone, Farnell paused to note eight police cars speeding past the restaurant's window--just one indication that even hours later, the City of Boston remained in the grip of fear and uncertainty. 

"I'm really truly in shock," said Farnell. "It was a magical day. To let this evil happen is just horrible."

Farnell is a recovering cancer victim and a consummate runner who has competed in 16 Boston Marathons.

She oversees the Pinellas drug court where Farnell encourages recovering addicts to live a healthier lifestyle based on her own personal example of physical fitness and perseverance despite adversity.

Farnell's courtroom inside the Pinellas Justice Center is bedecked in souvenirs from her many races.

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