Tampa running coach: explosion timing was sickening - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa running coach: explosion timing was sickening

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Lynn Gray Lynn Gray
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

If it wasn't for a knee injury, chances are Tampa running coach Lynn Gray would've been at that finish line in Boston Monday, right around the time of the explosions.

She's been there a dozen times before, around that exact time.
 
"We train for years to get a 4 hour, 4:15, 4:30 finish," she said. "When this tragedy occurred I believe it was around 4 hours, 9 minutes ... Which is really the mean time of most folks that would finish the Boston Marathon."
 
Did the person who set these off realize that? The thought of it sickens her.
 
"If I would've run, I would've been right in that envelope of time," Gray said. "Ironically some of my friends are right there finishing right where I would be and they are there today. It's very very hard to accept."
 
She knows four runners from the Bay area who were in the race when explosions echoed through Boston on Monday. After about 18 to 20 phone calls and nearly 100 e-mails, all were accounted for. The last was Christina Mitchelson, a Bay area native, who apparently was just minutes from the finish line.
 
"It prevented her from finishing the course by about 1 or 2 minutes," Gray said. "In her case her family was at the finish line."
 
They, too, are okay, Gray said.
 
Nearly 12 years ago, she personally saw the heightened security at the marathon after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
 
"Such an innocent sport as the Boston Marathon ... who would've ever thought we would have snipers on top of the school building looking down watching over us before we ran," she said. "The finish line was never a big concern. It was the start line because you had - in case of the 100th - you had 66,000...in most cases you have 50 to 60,000 runners in one location."
 
Some of Gray's running students already know what the feeling is like at the finish line. They've tested themselves and conquered a route they've trained months or years for. Families are off-guard as well with joy.
 
"To either not make it or have that desperation of where's my husband, where's my kids, where's my wife," said runner Janet Vazquez. "It's just so scary."
 
As for Mitchelson, who didn't get to finish, Gray believes she'll have the resolve and fight to go back next year.
 
"I myself, will dedicate my legs again to make sure that this particular girl gets a lot of support so we will be there with her to help her go again," she said.
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