A day after twin bomb blasts rocked the Boston Marathon, leaving three dead and more than 170 injured, Atascadero resident Micaela Pepple expressed thanks that she and the other Central Coast runners participating in the event were not hurt.
She finished Monday’s Boston Marathon almost an hour before the explosions. Although she spent time after the marathon in a medical tent being treated for cramps, she said her experience was mostly a positive one.
“It was such a fun day for everyone, and everyone was so happy,” Pepple said Tuesday.
Although Pepple recalled hearing a sound "kind of like a sonic boom" and several sirens, she didn't realize anything was wrong until she and her boyfriend walked into a local restaurant about 10 minutes later to find people watching news about the explosions on television.
Never miss a local story.
"There was some panicking, but everybody just knew they needed to get back home and be safe," Pepple recalled. "There was a different energy in the air."
With phone lines down and transportation options limited, Pepple and her boyfriend ended up walking "quite a ways" and catching a train to the outskirts of Boston.
"It was just really crazy trying to get out of the city," said the runner, who wasn't able to immediately contact her friends and family because her cell phone had died. "I was mainly more worried that everyone else was freaking out."
Pepple said there was a strong military and police presence during and after the race.
"They couldn't have had it more secure. They didn’t drop the ball at all," she said of authorities. "If anyone knows how to put on a race, it’s Boston."
Still, she added, "It was kind of a perfect day for a terrorist attack. Everyone’s off work. Everyone’s watching the race. Everyone’s outside."
Pepple, who also ran the Boston Marathon in 2012, finished this year's marathon in about 3 hours and 14 minutes — shaving five minutes off her previous time. She said she might come back to Boston in 2014.
"There’s nothing like Boston. It’s the race — the most important race of the year besides the Olympics," Pepple said.
She's currently training for the Big Sur International Marathon in Carmel on April 28.