Runner reflects on Boston Marathon explosion
Paul Guanci won’t soon forget his final Boston Marathon.
The Beverly resident had just put the final touches on his running retirement party, completing his second and final 26.3-mile trek through Hopkinton to Boston, when a pair of explosions near the finish line sent shockwaves through the streets.
“I was about 150 yards away,” said Guanci, who was being awarded his medal by one of his friends at the time of the incident. “Then you heard the explosion. Then there was another one.”
It was a stark contrast to the joyous atmosphere just minutes earlier. The Beverly City Council President navigated his was down Boylston Street and across the finish line recording a personal best time of 4:02:58.
One of 31 Beverly residents to run the race, the 48-year-old was ready to celebrate roughly five minutes after completing his mission, when the initial blast hit less than a block away. For a brief moment, Guanci though the explosion might have been something else.
“I thought a transformer blew or it was a gas explosion,” Guanci said. “My initial concern was for who was in the area, and then my family, because they were relatively close to there.”
Guanci was instructed by officials to head to the Weston Hotel to pick up his personal belonging. His trek took him through several detours, as police began blocking off roads.
He eventually was reunited with his family at the Marriott Hotel, where they had planned on meeting afterwards.
“I’m just glad that everybody was safe,” Guanci said. “It was a pretty frightening day. It’s pretty hard to get excited about [the marathon] because of what happened.”
Prior to the catastrophe, Guanci was enjoying the run of his life. The Super Sub proprietor was well on his way to eclipsing his rookie record, with a sparkling performance.
“I ran a great race,” Guanci said. “I ran the first half in under two hours, and the second half in jut a little over two hours, and that’s with all the hills. I was very happy. The weather was great, the crowd is always great and I was very fortunate to feel good all day.”
Guanci knew well ahead of time that this was going to be his last foray at such an event.
“This was my swan song,” said Guanci, noting the long hours of preparation in order to attempt running the Boston Marathon. “It’s too much time. When your married, have a couple kids and a boat load of responsibilities it takes an awful lot of time out of your day to try and just minimally train. I would have loved to have trained more, but you can only do what you do because of other responsibilities.”
“It’s just a shame what happened,” he added. “It takes the shine off the day.”
Guanci, like many couldn’t help but feel for the victims of Monday’s events.
“Our thoughts and our prayers go out to the families that are affected by this tragedy,” he said. “That’s really all I can think about.”