(Correne Coetzer) Five days after the two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon the timing computers were still reckoning the time since the start to the thousandth of a second.
Yesterday, nine days after the blast, Boston Marathon race committee member, Richard Laronde spent "a great day" with runners at the baggage claim and medal distribution; saying to ExplorersWeb every single runner said they will be back next year.
Richard was at the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) offices giving Finish Medals to runners and shares his experience. "Some came to recover their bags but most came for the medals. We placed a finish line on the floor and most runners took pictures at the line with their medals. Some were overjoyed, many were in tears."
While volunteers were looking for the bag of one young woman, Richard went to put a medal on her. "She stopped me saying softly "I don't deserve a medal, I didn't finish." I pointed out the finish line on the floor behind her and explained that she had just finished the race."
A young man would not let Richard put the medal around his neck. "He put it in his pocket telling me he would put it on next year when he starts the 2014 marathon."
A woman who was physically injured in the blast came in on crutches. "She had spent last week in the hospital recovering from shrapnel in her leg from the second blast," shares Richard. "She didn't need a bag and she had brought with her a medal someone had given her in the hospital. What she wanted was to have someone from the BAA put the medal around her neck. I proudly did so."
Richard assures ExWeb there is plenty of counseling available but not many takers at this point as far as he is aware. "There may be more interest in counseling when people get over being pissed off."
On Friday, April 20, the entire city of Boston and some of the suburbs were shut down for the manhunt to find the suspects who planted the two bombs on the 15th. This inspired the following quote, which Richard sent over, Boston is probably the only major city that if you screw with them, they will shut down the whole city... stop everything... and find you.
Investigators studied all available photos and surveillance videos of the blast area while the search took place. Eventually two Russian-born brothers were tracked down. 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was fatally injured in a dramatic gun battle with the police. 19-year-old Dzhokhar, who escaped, was captured and recovers in hospital from wounds. "He blames the bombings on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," says Richard to ExplorersWeb, and added, "my event management company did his high school graduation and he was attending my university. Small world!"
Timing computers and a sandwich
On Saturday, April 20, Richard and his crew were able to shut down and remove some of his event management company's equipment at the venue. "Had to wear white bio suits, booties and rubber gloves and had an FBI escort."
"The timing computers were still reckoning the time since the start to the thousandth of a second. Sometimes it is the little things that get to you. In the middle of the announcers table was a sandwich with one bite out of it."
Richard has been on the Boston Marathon race committee since 1983. His event managing company does the technical support, sound, audio-visual and timing for the race.
Richard has also skied the Last Degree (110km) to the North Pole and South Pole and had been to Mount Vinson. HIs next adventure is booked: a space flight. "The Virgin Galactic Spacecraft "Enterprise" will be starting the powered flight part of her testing within the next weeks. With a little luck I may be able to fly in a year," he says to ExplorersWeb.
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