For Martha Davis of Madison, this year’s Boston Marathon was supposed to be a time to celebrate. But that all changed Monday afternoon shortly after she crossed the finish line in Boston, nine minutes before two explosions killed three and injured more than 100 near the finish line.
“My mother passed away after last year’s marathon, so this year was supposed to be a therapeutic trip,” said Davis.” The explosions just add to the sorrow. It compounds the tragedy while we were trying to celebrate the life of my mother.”
Mary Ann Shirley Smith died April 21, 2012, just days after last year’s marathon, which was Davis’ first time to run in Boston. She was not a runner, but Davis, who has been running for 33 years, said her mother was always supportive of her running.
“I can’t wear my jacket from this year’s marathon. It causes a bad feeling in my stomach. This is supposed to be a feeling of joy.”
Instead, she wore last year’s jacket as she continued her visit in Boston today.
“Today, it’s just a general feeling of sadness. It’s supposed to be a joyous occasion. Now people who were celebrating their abilities are in the hospital with lost limbs,” said Davis, who works at University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Davis finished her race in 4 hours, 28 seconds, then began her walk down Boylston Street to pick up her medal and bag.
“Where I was, things were relatively calm,” she said. “I was standing near the bags, and we heard something that sounded like a cannon. It was like something you’d hear on a base.
“I didn’t think the worse, I thought it was a celebration. But then I saw the smoke, and it became obvious that it was not planned. Seconds later, there was another explosion. A lot of people started moving toward the explosion, but most of the people around me started moving away from it.
“I didn’t really get the sense that something was really wrong until I saw the police presence and volunteers moving that way. Then we heard the ambulances arriving.
Her first thought was not that it was an act of terrorism or violence.
“When I got off of Boylston Street, we saw police more vigilant in their work of securing the area. That’s when it set in. “