NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

April 21, 2014

FULL CIRCLE

For the Winner's Circle, a cherished marathon tradition lives on

SALISBURY — Every year, runners from the Winner’s Circle Running Club gather at The Lenox Hotel in downtown Boston after completing the Boston Marathon, and last year was no different.

“It started out like a regular Boston Marathon. The weather was great, especially after the year before,” said Rick Walsh, a Winner’s Circle club member from West Newbury. “We’d finished, there were probably two-thirds of the runners that were running back, so we were celebrating.”

There were approximately 70 runners from the Winner’s Circle competing in last year’s marathon, most of whom hailed from the Greater Newburyport area. After the two bombs detonated near the finish line, those who were at The Lenox had a front-row view of the chaos that unfolded afterward.

“It was surreal, that’s the only way I can describe it,” said Mike McCormick, a Newburyport resident who has run the marathon more than 30 times.

McCormick said that most of the runners were on the 10th floor when it happened; and after the first bomb went off, most people weren’t quite sure what had happened. Walsh said he was in the shower when the bombs went off, and he said his initial impression of the bathroom shaking was that someone had fallen down in the room outside.

“It’s not unusual for someone to pass out in the room after they finish the marathon, so the whole room shook and I thought that someone fell against the bathroom door and hit their head or something. Really, that’s what I thought at first,” Walsh said. “Then I heard the second one and shut the water off. I could hear the commotion in the room.”

It was total confusion in the minutes and hours that followed. McCormick said a lot of people ran up to the roof, while he and another guy ran downstairs to the second floor, where they wound up in a function room overlooking the finish line that former Patriots star Tedy Bruschi was using for a charity event.

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