Triathlon Club adviser 200 yards from Boston Blast

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Stuart Cahill

Emergency personnel assist the victims at the scene of a bomb blast during the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, April 15, 2013. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald/MCT)

Lorraine Gersitz, Cerritos College librarian and co-adviser of the Triathlon Club stood about 200 yards away from the finish line of the Boston Marathon, where two explosions took place.

Gersitz finished the race with a clock time of 4:03.00. The two bombs went off within 10 seconds of each other when the clock reached 4:09.00.

After crossing the finish line, Gersitz stood with fellow runners talking when the explosions happened. She said that at first she thought it was a sonic boom, also adding, “At first you don’t think it’s an explosion.”

After the second explosion happened and people started to react to it, Gersitz described the scene as surreal.

“(There were) sirens going off, helicopters in the air, and (the runners) were thinking ‘oh, this isn’t good,'” she said.

She said she can’t even remember how many Boston Marathons she has ran, saying, “It has to be somewhere around 15 or 20.”

The marathon for Gersitz, is a joyful occasion that she says ended terribly.

“It was horrible. Your heart is just broken,” Gersitz said. This is one of the ways she describes the event.

Gersitz portrayed the day of the event as any other Boston Marathon before it, with the course lined with community members.

“People come out in droves just cheering you on.”

Gersitz was running next to a man who knocked over by the explosion as was seen in footage.

She said she was feeling good and decided to speed up in order to reach her goal time of four hours.

Later on, she saw that man on the news footage get knocked over by the blast.

Although he appeared to OK, Gersitz thought that she could have been involved in the blast too.

“Someone’s watching over me somewhere,” she said.

Usually on a normal marathon day for Gersitz, runners walk around like celebrities in Boston, with people coming up to them and asking questions about the marathon.

But now after the explosions happened, it’s different. Gersitz said it’s as if “None of the other stuff matters … you just think about all (of) the poor people who were hurt and injured.”

Bruce, Gersitz’s husband, was on subway line T in Boston when the explosions took place. It was planned that he would meet up with his wife after she finished her race.

After the explosions happened, Gersitz used her cell phone to call and text her husband.

With the velocity of texts received varying, she found out from her husband that the subway stopped at Fenway Park, which is approximately a mile and a half away from the finish line of the marathon, and was walking to meet her.

When they united Gersitz described the moment as “The biggest hug you can imagine.”

They both had tears in their eyes, they said.

Once they finally left the site of the explosions, they walked down the street trying to find a way back to their hotel. But the subways were still shut down and the taxis were full.

They hitchhiked the streets of Boston, alongside other runners and their families. They then got into a car that took them to their hotel in Newton.

The next day for Gersitz was different than the other times she has stayed for the marathon.

She woke up thinking, “Did that really happen?”

Oscar Jaramillo, member of the Triathlon Club, was unaware that Gersitz was attending the marathon until Monday morning when he heard of the incident.

Jaramillo expressed his sadness for the runners at the event.

“It’s sad. Running is a peaceful sport … there should be no reason to have violence,” Jaramillo said.