PORTLAND – Runners and their supporters returning to the Portland Metro area from Boston started arriving at PDX late Tuesday morning.
Many were greeted with hugs when they walked toward the baggage area at the Portland International Airport just before noon.
Erik Rutz was among them. He finished the marathon before the blasts and was several blocks away when the chaos hit.
He had an emotional reunion with his girlfriend at the airport.
“I feel very lucky I finished the race before it happened,” Rutz said. “I have two separate memories: One of running the race and one of what happened after I was done.”
Rutz said he tried to board the subway and leave the area, but police made everyone get off. Then, he started getting texts asking if he was okay.
His girlfriend was thankful to have him home Tuesday.
For many, qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon was a fantastic achievement. Runners told KGW they enjoyed every second of the run, until the moment the first blast hit.
Kristen Labarca ran exactly the race she hoped for, but had nothing to celebrate at the end.
“I felt bad for her because she ran a great race and it was sad and emotional. I felt bad for her because she ran a great race and should have been celebrating something joyous and nobody was in the mood to celebrate anything, obviously at that point,” her husband, John said.
Portland firefighter Christine Pezzulo had just crossed the finish line when the blast hit. She remembers panic sweeping through the crowds.
“All I could see was smoke and I could hear people yelling. And then people, people were pretty stunned in my immediate area because again, we were just trying to figure out what just happened,” she said. “At that point, people just started yelling and screaming and people were yelling ‘It was a bomb, it was a bomb!’ and just panicking.”
Paul Cummings, from the Bethany area, had finished and was in the medical tent getting his legs worked on when he heard the explosions.
“We were in the big medical tent which is right next to the finish and you heard the second one as well. I’ve not ever been that close to something that loud. But we all sort of knew it wasn’t good,” he recalled.
Eva Martushev finished 30 minutes before the explosions.
“I was going over to meet my kids and heard the explosions and stopped and looked around and saw the smoke,” she said. “It was kind of surreal. Then I went back and found my kids and then all the sirens started up and they started telling everybody to just get out.”