Panhandle Runners React to Boston Marathon Tragedy - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Panhandle Runners React to Boston Marathon Tragedy

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26.2 grueling miles of running is met with chaos and fear after tragedy strikes Boston. Panama City runner Joe Edgecombe was less than a mile from the finish line of one of the toughest races in the world.

"You know after running 25 miles your brain is not functioning any way and you're like, 'Could this happen?'" he said. "I mean it's just disbelief."

The events that followed were ones he never imagined. Seeing runners ahead of the pack turn back from their long awaited finish line.

"It was disbelief," he said. "We saw people walking back that were ahead of us were walking back from the finish area towards us.

"We thought 'Why is everyone walking back towards us?' It didn't make sense."  

As he and another runner went to gather their drop bags they were hurried away by officers.

"As we were doing that they were hurrying us up and said 'Get out of here now,'" said Edgecombe. "They had found some other undetonated bomb from what I understand.

"So, they were trying to get us out of the area."

Meanwhile back home in Panama City Beach, Freedom Sports owner Marshall Mcclanahan heard word of the days events. He is relieved to learn all area runners are safe.

"Definitely relief when you find out," said Mcclanahan. "You hate that this happened, but you are relieved that the people that you are close to are ok."

As an avid runner himself, Mcclanahan has participated in many races.

"Especially a race like that, that is the pinnacle of marathoners," said Mcclanahan.  "To be at such a high for finishing and being a part of it and then something like this takes you down to the depths of anger, fear, everything all that mixed together.

"So, I can't imagine what these folks are going through right now."

The two explosions happened just four hours into the race, a median goal for marathon runners.

"So, to see what the did at four hours it's almost like they know that it's a goal time so it's almost like they knew more about the marathon," he said. "Like why four hours? And then within seconds the bomb goes off."

As for Edgecombe he says they are still inside their hotel room, most restaurants closed down and police still combing the streets.

"Even tonight homeland security military has a couple platoons stationed out here," he said. "We just saw them at commons park, the police are every where blue are lights going up and down the streets."

At least ten runners from the Panhandle were in Boston today, Edgecombe says he is set to come back to Panama City on Tuesday afternoon.