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Hagerstown runner tells story of Boston Marathon experience

'My aching body kind of took a back seat at that point'

April 16, 2013

About 13 minutes after Judy Emmert crossed the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street on Monday afternoon, she heard the two explosions that killed three people and wounded more than 170 others.

As exhausted as the Hagerstown resident was after completing the 26.2-mile race, Emmert said she thought she better get off the street and started running toward where her group from the Cumberland Valley Athletic Club was congregated a few blocks away.

“First, I heard what sounded like two cannons going off really loud, like Civil War cannons, one right after the other,” said Emmert, 51, a dentist with Eric Smith’s practice.

Emmert said she had just turned the corner off Boylston Street and was in an area, about 600 yards from the explosions, that was wall-to-wall people when she heard the explosions.

“Everyone sort of stopped in their tracks and looked around, and then continued what they were doing,” she said.

About a minute later, people were on their cellphones and police were running to the scene.

While Emmert said she didn’t see the smoke from the bombs, she knew it sounded like explosions and was fearful.

She learned about the bombs going off around the corner after asking some people why they were crying.

Emmert said she thought she better get further away in case there was another bomb.

“It’s sort of like a flight-or-fight mechanism,” Emmert said. “My aching body kind of took a back seat at that point.”

Emmert said athletic club members returned to Hagerstown on Tuesday.

The team was “a little melancholy” and its hearts were with the victims, she said.

In addition to the Cumberland Valley Athletic Club group, there were several other athletes from the Tri-State area who participated in the marathon, according to the Boston Athletic Association’s website.

— Julie E. Greene

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