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April 16, 2013

Local residents witness Marathon blast: 'Everyone just froze'

For local runners, excitement turns to horror


“I don’t even know if we can get out of the city,” Durante said, about two hours after the explosions. “It’s horrific, it’s just horrific.”

Amesbury resident Matt Solazzo completed the 26.2 mile race roughly 10 minutes before the two explosions in Copley Square.

“I was probably a block away,” Solazzo said. “I had just found my wife, and we heard two blasts. Both of our parents were there, so we scrambled to find them. We had no idea what happened. A woman came out of the Prudential Center and freaked everyone out. She said, ‘Why isn’t everyone running? Two bombs just went off.’”

Solazzo and his family hustled to their cars in a parking garage in Boston Common. They headed north for Amesbury before sorting out the details of the tragedy.

“It put a huge damper on the day,” Solazzo said. “I heard 5,000 people couldn’t finish the race. They put a lot of effort into qualifying and raising money. There were a couple of fatalities, more people injured. It puts a black mark on the whole thing.”

Rick Bayko, the owner of Yankee Runner in Newburyport, said between 40 and 50 marathoners from the Greater Newburyport area had met at the Winner’s Circle in Salisbury yesterday morning for a chartered bus to Boston. Minutes after the explosions, his store became flooded with calls from people wondering if their family members were all right.

“This is just incredible. I’m stunned, of course,” Bayko said.

Bayko said he had been fearful of such an incident taking place at the Boston Marathon for decades.

“It took a while, but someone actually did it,” Bayko said.

Sports editor Dan Guttenplan contribute to this report.




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