One Day Later: Oklahoma Runners In Boston Talk About Bombings

Tuesday, April 16th 2013, 6:21 pm
By: News 9

More than a hundred Oklahomans were in Boston Monday, 86 of them registered as runners.

Ryan Siler of Edmond was one of them.

"The race is an unbelievable experience," Siler said. "It was my first time to the run Boston."

His excitement continued when he finished the race with a personal best. That excitement was darkened by the events that would unfold next.

"It's tragic," he said. "I feel its evil, you know, they picked one of the finest sporting events in the world and they knew what they were doing."

He's talking about the person or persons responsible for the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, where more than 170 people were injured and three killed, including an 8-year-old spectator.

4/15/2013 Related Story: At Least 3 Killed In Explosions At Boston Marathon Finish Line

Siler had just finished the marathon and was recovering in his hotel room a block away when he heard the two explosions. He said he saw the smoke from the blasts and the finish line from his hotel room window.

"At the time of the explosion, there were still 4,500 people racing," he said. "It was chaos."

Karla Koonce of Oklahoma City just crossed the finish line and was picking up her medal when she heard and felt the explosions. Luckily, she wasn't hurt.

Like Siler and many other runners there, this was her first Boston Marathon too. She said one day later, she's still trying to come to grips with what happened.

"I think I've gone through the whole gamut of emotions, because initially, you hear about the 8 year old boy that had been killed and you're so emotional, so upset and then you're angry," said Koonce.

Despite the devastating finish to the Boston Marathon, Koonce and other runners agree, it only inspires them to move on for those hurt and killed and to continue running.

"For me, I'd be doing it in honor of all those who have been hurt or killed," said Koonce. "It would be my way of saying whoever did this, you didn't win, you're not going to keep me from living life and doing the things I love and enjoy."

Both runners say they plan to participate in the upcoming OKC Memorial.

4/15/2013 Related Story: Officials: OKC Memorial Marathon Will Still Go On With Increased Security

"When we run, we'll always remember these people," said Siler. "We'll remember this day and every time we put on the Boston Marathon gear that we received from the race and look at those photos, for me, I'll remember the people who were hurt, you know, more than my race."

4/15/2013 Related Story: Leaders On Alert Ahead Of OKC Memorial Marathon