, Newburyport, MA


October 22, 2013

Former Pentucket runner Stokes witnesses bombs, vows to run Boston

Caitlin Stokes was near the finish line on the day of the Boston Marathon when the bombs exploded on Boylston Street.

The former Pentucket Regional High runner watching with her boyfriend, John Gulfoil, when the first bomb detonated to their left. A little more than 10 seconds later, another bomb detonated to her right.

Stokes, 27, made it out of Boston that day without needing any medical attention. After realizing how lucky she is, the Danvers Highlands Elementary speech pathologist vowed to run the Boston Marathon in 2014.

The Daily News recently caught up with Stokes as she prepares to run the Cape Cod Half Marathon this weekend.

What brought you to the finish line for this year’s Boston Marathon?

“I’ve gone every few years in the past. This year, I was actually there to see a friend from Newburyport (Eric Bowden). He’s also training for next year since they’re letting everybody who didn’t finish re-enter.”

Where were you watching the race?

“I was outside of the Tannery on Boylston. I was in the middle of the two bombs. The first went off to my left, and the second to the right.”

Did you know bombs were detonating?

“Initially, when the first one went off, I was with my fiance (John Gulfoil). I looked and saw a huge cloud of smoke. It seemed like a long time, but in reality it was only 10 seconds. Everybody looked at each other. We tried to rationalize it. I thought maybe a speaker blew or an electric fire started.”

Then you heard the second one?

“The second one went off. I remember a stunned silence. It was very quiet at first. People started screaming. We were frozen. I just stood there. I looked at (John), and said, ‘Do we need to get out of here.’ He was looking around. People started moving more. My best friend (Andrea Bolla) was across the street. We ended up walking toward the second blast because she was right across from it.”

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