Melissa Mead ran in the Boston Marathon for the first time Monday. She will remember it more now because of the two bombings near the finish line at the historic race.
Mead was among at least 35 runners from the Newport-Mesa area who ran in the world's oldest and most prestigious footrace. Mead, of Costa Mesa, is a Newport Harbor High School and UC Irvine alumna.
The 23-year-old said she finished the race in about 3 hours, 49 minutes, some 20 minutes before an explosion went off near the finish line.
"It makes me feel quite lucky," Mead said in a text message, describing how she felt having avoided the devastation.
Reports say three people died and 100 were injured after the explosions occurred an hour after 17,000 runners crossed the finish line, according to CNN. The blasts were so strong that runners fell over from the impact.
Mead qualified for the Boston Marathon after competing in her first marathon last year, the OC Marathon. She was excited in the days leading up to the race.
"I went in the race injured, so [I] just tried to enjoy the experience," Mead said in a text. "I feel horrible for those who didn't get to finish the race today.
"Glad to have finished up before all the chaos. It's so devastating to have something like this happen at such a beloved event."
Mead said she received multiple texts and phone calls checking in on her well-being.
"I was actually walking back to the hotel with my mom and sister" when the blasts hit, Mead said. "We heard the booms from behind us but did not think it was anything at the time. It was insanely loud though."
Jim and Mollie Rosing, of Newport Beach, said they were fine after the explosions. The Rosings, husband and wife, graduated from Corona del Mar High School in 1993. They were in their hotel room when contacted by phone, but did not have much time to talk since they were receiving multiple calls checking on them.
"It's crazy," Mollie Rosing said. "It's right down the street."
She texted later in the day, "A high and a low for sure. Jim and I were so excited about running Boston and being able to actually cross the finish line together, but once we heard about the bombing, we started to worry about fellow runners and spectators. It definitely was a horrible tragedy, but knowing a bit about the history of the Boston Marathon and the Boston community in general, I know the city will bounce back and be better than before!"
The Rosings were happy during their run in the Boston Marathon. They ran together and their splits were identical at every checkpoint, Mollie Rosing said. They crossed the finish line at the same time, 3:18.57, a personal best for her.
Mollie Rosing said her cell phone service was temporarily shut down and the hotel she was staying at was on lockdown.
"All local runners I know are okay," she later texted.
Bill Sumner, the longtime CdM coach, is the director of the Cal Coast Track Club. He said at least 25 people from his club ran in the Boston Marathon. Around 1 p.m., he said the people he had contacted were fine. He continues to try to reach more runners.
He said Jennifer Buckley, a Newport Beach resident, was in her hotel room with a few other runners and had to stay there because the hotel was in lockdown.
Ceci St. Geme, also of Newport Beach and a volunteer coach at CdM, also told friends she was OK.
"I was talking to Jennifer Buckley," Sumner said. "She was beside herself.