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'Crazy day' for local runners, relatives in Boston Marathon

April 16, 2013|By Veronica Rocha and Steve Virgen

San Marino resident Mark Hughes was just 200 yards away from the scene of one of two explosions Monday that ripped through the finish area of the Boston Marathon, his wife said.

Hughes, 36, was not harmed in the explosions, which killed three people and left more than 120 injured, some of them gravely.

His wife, Danica Hughes, was at home anxiously awaiting his arrival from Boston on Monday evening.

“It’s been a crazy day,” she said.

About three hours into the 117th running of the 26.2-mile race, an explosion went off at the Boylston Street finish line, witnesses said. It was followed by a second explosion seconds later.

Mark Hughes completed the marathon about a half-hour before the explosions, his wife added.

Soon after, he quickly headed for the airport for a scheduled return flight. The couple hadn’t had the chance to talk in depth about what he saw, Danica Hughes said.

“I am glad he is safe and I am glad he is coming home,” she said.

In Orange County, friends of at least 35 runners from the Newport Beach area said they were anxious -- then relieved -- after finding out that the runners were safe.

Melissa Mead was among at those runners who participated in one of the world's oldest and most prestigious footraces. Mead, of Costa Mesa, is a Newport Harbor High School and UC Irvine alumna, and was competing in the Boston Marathon for the first time

The 23-year-old finished the race in about 3 hours, 49 minutes, some 20 minutes before an explosion went off near the finish line. 

"It makes me feel quite lucky" to have avoided the devastation, Mead said in a text message.

"Glad to have finished up before all the chaos. It's so devastating to have something like this happen at such a beloved event."

Mead said she received multiple texts and phone calls checking in on her status.

When a bomb went off, "I was actually walking back to the hotel with my mom and sister," Mead said. "We heard the booms from behind us but did not think it was anything at the time. It was insanely loud, though."


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