Locals barely miss bombings in Boston

If Laguna Beach resident Peter Kimball's race time was like that of his two previous Boston Marathons, he would have been near the finish line when the first of two bombs exploded Monday in the New England city.

But Kimball, competing in his seventh straight Boston Marathon, finished faster this year and met his family in nearby Boston Common, where they took a subway to their hotel.

They had no idea that he had managed to avoid the bombs that exploded at the finish line at 2:42 p.m. Eastern time.

Kimball was in the shower when his son told him to look at what was on television. That is when he learned about the attack and the destruction it had wrought.

"There were so many feelings," Kimball said Thursday by phone. "I was angry, sad, couldn't believe someone could taint something so pure. I thought about the people waiting for loved ones. I was concerned for the families."

He and his family watched the news for an hour before he told his son to turn off the TV.

"I couldn't see any more of it," Kimball said. He said that despite their being free to move about, his wife and son didn't want to go anywhere. "My family did not want to go outside of the hotel."

The Kimballs flew out of Boston's Logan International Airport the next morning. All went smoothly, he said.

Kimball, 48, and his brother Stephen Kimball, 50, both finished the Boston Marathon within one minute of each other. Stephen finished in three hours, 22 minutes and 55 seconds, while Peter crossed the finish line in three hours, 23 minutes and 28 seconds.

Terri Kimball, Stephen's wife, said they missed the explosion by minutes.

"We walked two blocks [away from the finish line] to meet my husband," Terri said by phone Thursday. "I looked back and saw firetrucks [racing by]. I thought someone had died."

Just minutes before, Terri had received a call from Stephen after he finished, asking if the family could meet him a couple blocks from the finish line.

If she hadn't received the call, Terri said, she and her three children might have remained by the finish line, near the explosion site.

"My daughters usually want to shop around the finish line area," Terri said, adding that this time they wanted to meet up with their dad.

The Kimballs got in their car and headed for their hotel in Lexington, Mass., about a 25-minute drive from Boston.

"We turned on the news and calls from family members started coming in," Terri said. "I'm saddened for the families [of the victims]."

Three people died and more than 170 were injured in the explosions, according to news reports.


Twitter: @AldertonBryce

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