Local Boston Marathoner Glad to Return - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Local Boston Marathoner Glad to Return

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Eric Laughlin says he's "happy to be home" Eric Laughlin says he's "happy to be home"

Runners in the Boston Marathon from all over the world are returning home, telling heart-stopping stories about what happened at the finish line.

One of those runners came home to the Ohio Valley.  West Liberty University Head Cross Country Coach Eric Laughlin had completed the race well before the two explosions.  Laughlin got some treatment at the medical tent he needed after the 26.2 mile run.  Then he headed back to the finish line to watch some runners he coached finish -- when he heard the boom of explosions. 

"There was just people down there -- just running.  And then, everybody just turned, and we all just turned, and everybody started running away as fast as they could, away from the scene, up through the park. Back to the hotels," Laughlin said.  "And then, we had four people we traveled with, and we couldn't find any of them.  And we couldn't find the people I had coached.  So it was very frustrating at the time," he continued.

Like other marathon runners, Laughlin views the Boston Marathon as the "granddaddy" of long-distance running events in the United States.  What will remain with him for the rest of his life, he says, is the sound of the first explosion.

"Your instincts say, 'They wouldn't be firing a cannon right now.'  You know, signifying the end of this marathon, because there's still  -- thousands, there was probably about six thousand runners out there on the marathon course," Laughlin says thoughtfully. 

His words start to run like the marathon runner he is.  "So, when you turn, you see the smoke -- you say, 'Maybe, maybe a gas line leak or something.'  But the second boom -- I mean, it's just like -- the thought came in, 'They're under attack, this marathon.  These are bombs.' And you flash back to what happened at 9/11."