Two area Boston Marathon participants react to explosions

James Fenton The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Shortly after the smoke cleared near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, two area runners shared their shock and disbelief at the multiple explosions near Copley Square in Massachusetts.

The deaths of at least three people and injuries of more than one hundred cast a pall over the historic annual race.

Shiprock Marathon race director Tom Riggenbach ran in the marathon on Monday.

When reached by The Daily Times, he said he was relieved to be minutes from boarding a flight home.

"It's a little bit tense — a lot of security," Riggenbach said, as he waited in Logan Airport for his flight to Albuquerque. "Everybody's glued to their phones and all the TV screens."

Riggenbach, 47, completed the 26.2-mile race in three hours and 34 minutes, finishing before two bombs exploded.

"I'm not believing what I'm seeing," he said, taking in the tense atmosphere of the crowded airport terminal. "This is surreal, a very bad situation."

He wasn't too worried about fellow area runner Jeff Fultz, 50, who also ran in the marathon.

"I haven't seen him," Riggenbach said of Fultz. "I assume he finished well before the explosions."

According to the marathon's online leaderboard results, Fultz crossed the finish line just five minutes behind Riggenbach.

Heather King, who had planned to run the marathon, was at home in Farmington following news of the bombing on TV.

King, 40, qualified her second year in a row to compete in the race, paid her entry fee and had her travel and hotel reservations.

But last week she injured her calf during training and had to stay home.

"I'm thankful I'm not there after watching the news," King said. "Last year when I ran there for the first time, the thing that is so unbelievable is how many people are out there. I wouldn't even know what to compare it to."

Because of the dense crowds along the race route, King was certain many would be injured.

"It's a race that just stops the city, basically. Plus it was a city holiday, Patriots' Day, so lots of families, children, were out there," she said.

King's comment came before it was reported that an 8-year-old was killed in one of the blasts.

Yesterday's marathon would have been King's 25th marathon in only four years.

"I was devastated when I got hurt, feeling sorry for myself," King said. "Then I saw this and knew God was looking out for me today. But I feel really badly for the people there."

King began running 10 years ago after her husband convinced her to try it. She gets up most mornings at 4 a.m. to run an average of 20 miles along the foothills around "F" hill near Butler Avenue before going to work to manage her and her husband's business.

She resumed training with a light run yesterday. In three weeks she plans to run in the Shiprock Marathon, followed by a several others scheduled later this year.

The Boston bombings kept King slightly on edge Monday, but her desire to continue competitive running was undaunted.

"I'll be in Boston next year, that's for sure," she said.

James Fenton can be reached at; 505-564-4621. Follow him on Twitter