Scene from Copley Square at the Boston Marathon where there were explosions at the finish line. (Source: James Bardin)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -
On a cloudy South Carolina night, the American flag waves at half-staff in front of the Chick-Fil-A in Five Points in the hours after the devastating twin bombings at the Boston Marathon.
More than 23,000 runners were scheduled to compete in the event and of those thousands, 135 South Carolinians were listed as entrants.
Of those 135, 13 of the runners are from the Columbia area:
Amy McDonaugh, who is perhaps the Midlands best-known runner, reported on Facebook Monday afternoon that she is safe. The vision-impaired runner crossed the finish line with a time of 2:52:38, approximately an hour and 15 minutes before two bombs exploded near the finish line.
"We are safe," she said on her Facebook page, "waiting to hear from a couple people."
Others who have reported to friends and/or family that they are okay are Fleet Feet's Laura Davis and Jeanne Reynolds, 55, of Blythewood.
Davis, 26, crossed the finish line approximately 10 minutes before the explosions.
Reynolds was stopped about a tenth of a mile from the scene.
"At that point I realized something very bad was happening," said Reynolds. "Then people started screaming and running up the sidewalks in the direction that we were."
"I just couldn't believe it," said Reynolds. "The people finishing around me were people in their 50's and 60's. They were the charity runners. It made no sense at all."
Another runner, Glenn Sheehan, has been in touch with his family. Family members tell us he was a half-mile from the finish when the explosions occurred. He was not injured and is expected to be okay.
Finisher Kenneth Ebener of West Columbia said he was about four miles away from the explosions.
"It was mass chaos they immediately shut down and diverted the runners, about 15 thousand that had not finished, it's crazy so many who don't know their way around town," said Ebener. "The subway system is shut down, my family had to walk five miles to get back to the hotel because there were no subways no cabs to be had, it's pretty bad."
Several University of South Carolina athletic training students are at the marathon and assisting in treatment of runners and victims. None of those students were injured.
USC students have organized a memorial event for Thursday night at 6 p.m.
There is no word if any South Carolinians were injured as a result of the explosion.
Within minutes of the explosions, agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division were in touch with Homeland Security and law enforcement officials around the country.
Thom Berry with SLED said security measures have been heightened around the country, including here in South Carolina.
"I don't know that you will see obvious signs, you may see a few more police here and there, you may see some additional security precautions at facilities such as military bases, there may be additional security procedures at sporting events coming up in the near future," said Berry. "I think if you see anything, that's probably where you're going to see the most obvious of changes."
Berry says the focus right now is on being aware and prepared.
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