Suffolk/Boston: Suffolk’s Boston Marathon runners depict scenes of “panic” as bombings cause chaos

The moment the device exploded (AP Photo/WBZTV)

The moment the device exploded (AP Photo/WBZTV) - Credit: AP

A SUFFOLK runner caught up in the chaos of the Boston Marathon bombings has described how panic swept across grief-stricken streets and brought the city to a standstill.

Two explosions near the finishing line of the Boston Marathon left three people dead and at least 170 injured in one of the worst terror attacks since 9/11 on Monday.

According to the official 2013 Boston Marathon entry list, four runners from Suffolk entered the 26.2 mile race.

Speaking from Boston before flying home last night, Hazel Kurz, of Stonham Aspal, Stowmarket, told the East Anglian Daily Times she was just three miles away when the explosions tore through the finish line, sending smoke and debris soaring into the air.

“Hundreds of people started running back looking very distressed. They were crying. You just instinctively knew something was wrong,” the 37-year-old said.

“I asked a race official what was going on. He just said ‘the race is over’.”

Hazel soon joined up with the growing pack of runners detained by police at the Massachusetts Avenue overpass, half a mile from the finish.

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“People were at panic stations,” she said. “No-one knew what was going on.

“There were rumours the stage had collapsed and a bomb had gone off in a hotel. It was crazy.

“Then finally it was confirmed – two bombs had gone off. It was unbelievable. People were just walking around, confused. Doctors were running everywhere. There was a very eerie atmosphere. It was very surreal.

“Everyone just wanted to speak to their families. Some guy gave me his phone and I sent a text to my parents letting them know I was ok.”

An hour and 15 minutes passed before the weary runners were guided through the city’s outskirts and back to the finish to collect their possessions.

She was given ID to check back into her hotel, where she was finally reunited with her 10 friends – five from the US, five from London – all of whom had experienced similar trauma.

“One was 30 seconds away from the bombs going off. Another had just finished. They saw it all. They saw limbs coming off people. They were very shaken and subdued,” she added.

Hazel’s parents Bob and Sandy were tracking her progress online when she suddenly stopped.

“I put on the news and saw that two bombs had gone off,” her father said. “I couldn’t believe it. She was very lucky she wasn’t in the area. I’m just glad she’s ok.”

Meanwhile, marathon veteran Frank Moggan, 63, of Haughley, crossed the line just minutes before the blast. His wife Sue was cheering on from the sidelines.

Stuart Green, chairman of the Stowmarket Striders – Mr Moggan’s running club – said both had made contact saying they were safe.

Mr Moggan was just a few hundred metres away from the explosion.

“He said it was complete chaos. He was trying to get the hell out of there,” Mr Green added.

“He said there was a very loud bang, followed by smoke and noise. He thought it was a bomb.”

Ipswich Triathlon Club runner Chris Tye, 46, of Woodbridge, told the club’s Facebook group he was safe.

According to Dave Copland, race director at the club, Mr Tye said: “I was a block away when the bombs went off. I had a scary wait for my partner Cheryl, but she was ok and turned up 15 minutes later.”

Cheryl Holder, 45, of Woodbridge, was the fourth Suffolk runner in the race.