Runner Tracy Wasden received more than 100 text messages from concerned friends after the Boston Marathon Monday — but she wasn’t able to get to her cellphone until today.
The 43-year-old mother of four was just four-tenths of a mile from the finish line when the two explosions occurred. Until that point, it had been a beautiful race — perfect weather and huge crowds, she said.
“We heard it but we didn’t have any idea what was happening, so we kept going,” Wasden said.
She was running as a guide with a blind runner, Diane Berberian, a 55-year-old from Florida. Berberian’s friend, Carolyn Kipper, ran with them, so she had a guide on each side of her. They ran the race a little faster than they expected.
Then the explosions and ensuing mayhem.
“I said, ‘We have a lot of the crowd on the course all off the sudden. We had a lot of people running in front of us, without numbers on,” Wasden said. Officials on the course told them the race was over, and they had to get out of the area.
“It was just the most confusing thing. We just thought at any time more (bombs) were going to go off,” Wasden said.
The trio of athletes, depleted from running 26 miles, walked another two miles to the offices of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind. Back in Meridian, Wasden’s husband, who had been tracking her progress with an app, was frantic with worry. She was able to call him from the association’s office.
Wasden said her hotel was wrapped in crime scene tape when she returned at about 8 p.m. She had to speak with FBI personnel to get permission to go inside.
“We were freezing, we were wrapped in garbage bags. I had no food. Restaurants were offering us water,” Wasden said. She said she was unable to sleep last night due to sirens, lights and commotion from the investigation into the bombings.
Wasden won’t be returning home to Idaho until Saturday. She has some work to do there for the Gibney Family Foundation, a nonprofit that helps blind people and others with visual impairments.
She said Berberian was doing OK after the traumatic day.
“She’s processing it like we are,” Wasden said.
Wasden shared this photo of the Meridian Moms Running Club at the Boston Marathon.
Top row: Julie Freeman, Angie Stiles, Kaidree Christensen
Bottom row: Tracy, Natalie Hammond, Paula Hoggan, Rachelle Christensen