Westfield runners reflect on marathon's past - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Westfield runners reflect on marathon's past

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WESTFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Westfield residents Vanessa Diana and Jason Ayr recounted the day the two participated in last year's Boston Marathon.

"It was a beautiful day. It was a perfect day and the crowd was full of joy. It was the ideal Boston Marathon," said Diana.  

"The Boston Marathon is always a super positive day. The running community was in full swing," said Ayr.  

"Everyone is just super excited from the person who's just trying to complete the marathon, to the person who is trying to qualify for the Olympic trials. Everyone is there," continued Ayr.

And everyone who was not there was watching as 26,000 runners from across the globe hit the pavement through Massachusetts suburbs from Hopkinton to Boston.

"Everything was great, until of course it wasn't," said Diana.  

The entire race came to an abrupt stop after twin explosions erupted at the finish line.

The two had just completed the race.

Ayr was with his friends cheering on the other runners when he got a horrifying phone call from his mother.

"She was like, 'Get off the sidewalk a bomb just went off,'" said Ayr.  

And Diana was walking away from the finish line with her family.  

"Chaos broke out and it became really frightening from there. It was just terrifying and it felt surreal. It kind of still feels surreal actually," said Diana. 

But amongst the chaos of the terror happening under the thick cloud of smoke, Diana said there was a light of good shining through that day.  

"In times of horror we also see people at their best. I can still remember folks giving their jackets and their thermal blankets to runners who were stopped on the course that day and strangers bringing people into their homes and of course the emergency response was phenomenal that day," said Diana. 

They said it is a memory that they will never forget.

However, the two also said they could not let the events of April 15, 2013 keep them from coming back this year to the 118th Running of the Boston Marathon.

"You just got to kind of have faith that it will all work out, so in that aspect of tragedy or my safety being in jeopardy, I honestly haven't considered it," said Ayr.

"A determination to come back to the tradition and the joyful, positive celebratory side that this race represents for the world," said Diana. 

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