Valley native narrowly misses Boston blasts |

Valley native narrowly misses Boston blasts

Special to the DailyKeegan Garnsey is all smiles before competing in Monday's Boston Marathon. She was less than one-third of a mile from the finish line when bomb blasts killed three people and injured more than 130 others. If she hadn't stopped for some family and friends near the finish, she'd have likely been in the finish area when the explosions hit.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Luck and a quick chat with some family and friends were all that separated local runner Keegan Garnsey from the horrific bombings that rocked this year’s Boston Marathon.

If Garnsey hadn’t stopped for some family and friends near the end of the 26.2 mile race, she likely would have been on top of the explosions. As it was, she was about a third of a mile from finishing her third Boston Marathon and was running toward the bombs.

Like everyone else, she said she wasn’t sure what had happened.

“It’s so loud down there (near the finish line) and there were so many people cheering. I heard the first explosion and I recognized it wasn’t a normal sound. Then all the cops’ radios went off all at once,” Keegan said.

Race officials stopped her and the other racers about one minute later. Crowds of people started sprinting up the racecourse toward them, fleeing the explosions near the finish line.

“We’re shaken up, but otherwise OK. Our prayers go out to those affected today,” she said.

The Garnsey clan usually makes the Boston Marathon a family affair. John Garnsey is usually there cheering on daughter Keegan, wife Vicky, and Vicky’s sister and her husband.

This year John took a fishing trip to Montana instead, and found himself glued to satellite radio Monday afternoon, listening for information he hoped he wouldn’t hear. He didn’t hear, but Keegan did.

“She heard the explosions,” John said.

Keegan’s aunt and uncle had finished just before her and were about 100 yards away from the blast.

“They were waiting for Keegan,” John said.

Vicky was near Boston College, well out of harm’s way, John said.

Monday was Keegan’s third Boston Marathon. She said she might go back next year, but she’ll have to think twice about it.

“It’s devastating because it changes this race forever. We have to look over our shoulders,” Keegan said.

Brian Dunfey was competing in Boston. So were Mike Glass, Blondie Vucich, Nick Fickling and several other local runners.

“I am well and all my family and friends who were running Boston are all well. My sister Eileen finished just eight minutes before the explosion. Crazy,” Dunfey said in a Facebook post.

Greg Decent, a local runner and running coach, is one of the few people on the planet who can run a marathon in under three hours. He beat his Boston Marathon goal of 2:50 when he finished in 2:49.10.

“Luckily everything worked out,” Decent said from Boston.

The bombs went off four hours after the race started. Decent had picked up his bag and was well away from downtown.

“My phone started ringing and people were asking if I was OK,” he said.

Decent said he was thrilled with his run, but that his celebration would be subdued.

“Greg is saddened by the tragedy but is confident that the Boston Marathon will be stronger next year with a united front against violence. Our family prayers go out to those injured or killed by the bombs,” said his wife Allison Decent.

What happened

Two bombs exploded in the packed streets near the finish line of Monday’s Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 130 in a bloody scene of shattered glass and severed limbs that raised alarms that terrorists might have struck again in the U.S.

U.S. intelligence officials said two other bombs were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course in what appeared to be a well-coordinated attack.

The White House said the attack is being treated as an act of terrorism.

The fiery twin blasts took place almost simultaneously and about 100 yards apart, knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattering windows and sending dense plumes of smoke rising over the street and through the fluttering national flags lining the course.

When the second bomb went off, the spectators’ cheers turned to screams. As sirens blared, emergency workers and National Guardsmen who had been assigned to the race for crowd control began climbing over and tearing down temporary fences to get to the blast site.

Blood stained the pavement, and huge shards were missing from window panes as high as three stories.

Boston police said three people were killed. Hospitals reported at least 134 injured, at least 15 of them critically.

Some 23,000 runners took part in the race, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious marathons.

The blasts occurred about four hours into the race and two hours after the men’s winner crossed the line. By that point, more than 17,000 of the runners had finished the race, but thousands of others were farther back along the course.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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