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Weston spectator hurt at Boston Marathon, two local runners escape harm

Pat Marafiote, shown in a picture from last year's Boston Marathon, crossed the finish line five minutes before the explosions occurred.

Pat Marafiote, shown in a picture from last year’s Boston Marathon, crossed the finish line five minutes before the explosions occurred.

Westonite Victoria McGrath was among the many spectators injured during the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

• To view a video of a firefighter rescuing Weston college student.

A 20-year-old Northeastern University student, and Weston High School graduate, Ms. McGrath sustained serious leg injuries and was under hospital care, the Connecticut Post reported Wednesday morning.

Her parents, James and Jill McGrath, left their Weston home for Boston to be with their daughter. Her father reported that his daughter is doing as well as can be expected. “She’s going to be OK,” Mr. McGrath told the Post. “She’s not going to have an amputation.”

Weston runners Emily Locher and Pat Marafiote had looked forward to the marathon. It was an especially nice Patriot’s Day — fresh spring weather, thousands of runners, and a half million happy spectators partying and cheering along the 26-mile route from Hopkinton to Boston’s Copley Square.

Emily Locher, left, and Cassie Nelson of Brooklyn took a school bus from Boston to Hopkinton for the start of the Boston Marathon.

Emily Locher, left, and Cassie Nelson of Brooklyn took a school bus from Boston to Hopkinton for the start of the Boston Marathon.

But when two bombs went off at the finish line shortly before 3 p.m., the marathon quickly turned from a joyful celebration to a scene of destruction. The blast killed three people and injured 176 more, according to the latest reports. Witnesses described the scene as a “war zone” full of chaos, smoke, shaking ground, and blood. Lots of blood.

Ms. Locher and Mr. Marafiote were lucky. Neither were at the scene when the blasts occurred.

Mr. Marafiote, 58, works for a hedge fund, and runs for a hobby. He had crossed the finish line just five minutes before the first bomb exploded. Clocking in with a time of 3:56, just under four hours, his time was 20 minutes less than last year. After picking up his medal, and drinking some water, he started walking toward Boston Common. Just as he approached his car, he heard a loud crash. “It startled me. I didn’t connect it to terrorism. I thought it might be a truck or something,” he said.

The streets around him suddenly started filling with police cars. As he headed to the highway he turned on the radio and heard what had happened.

The explosion reminded him of the events of 9/11. On that day, he was supposed to attend a deposition at one of the twin towers for his company Oxford Health. But the day before, the attorney who was running the deposition called in sick and canceled it. “I was lucky twice,” he said.

Ms. Locher, 37, never made it to the finish line. This was her fourth Boston Marathon. She and some friends from Brooklyn were having a good time and her pace was a bit slower than usual. “As I approached an underpass at Mile 25-1/2, we were stopped and a race official said they were stopping the race,” she said.

No other explanation was given. She had not heard the explosions herself, so she did not know at first what happened. People then told her. “A race official said there was a situation at the finish line and the race was canceled,” Ms. Locher said.

Ms. Locher and her friends went back to their hotel, The Four Seasons, which was under lockdown with extra security. They were advised to stay in their rooms and not go out.

“Such a tragedy,” Ms. Locher said. “This was supposed to be a day to celebrate life and achievement. My heart goes out to the families of those injured and lost.”

In a tragic coincidence, the marathon honored the victims of the Newtown shooting tragedy with a special marker at the 26th mile. A moment of silence for the Newtown shooting victims was held prior to the marathon’s start.

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