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Baragiola shares her frightening experience at the Boston Marathon

Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 8:25 am

After qualifying in Champaign, Ill. on April 28, 2012, Lisa Baragiola decided to run in the Boston Marathon for her second time on Monday April 15. She went to Boston with her sister who cheered her on and a group of runners from Fleet Feet for the 117th running of the marathon.

Lisa currently lives in Warrenton, but is originally from Silex, where her mother and sister still live. She works at St. Joseph Hospital West where she is the general manager of food services. Lisa had ran 18 marathons before the one in Boston this year but none of them could prepare her for what was going to happen at the end of this year’s Boston Marathon.

Lisa’s unofficial time was four hours and eight minutes, which she says is slower than her normal time. She said she felt more fatigue than usual in Boston due to the difficulty of the course. As she approached the finish line she was focused on the clock, still wanting to achieve the best time possible even if it wasn’t a personal best. Then, just moments before she crossed the finish line she heard the first explosion.

At first she thought it was fireworks or perhaps a celebratory cannon, but when she looked to her left she saw the front of the building exploding and realized the horror that had just taken place. Lisa said she was amazed by the reaction of all the servicemen and first responders who selflessly jumped into action and ran straight into the explosion, as so many fled from it. She was one of the people trying to get away from this horrifying scene and she ran as fast as she could never looking back.

Lisa went to the hotel that race organizers set up as a runner’s lounge, a meeting place for family members and a place where runners could relax and rehydrate. Here she found some friends from Colorado and waited in the lobby with them. Lisa was separated from her sister who was in the hotel across the street and neither one of them could get to the other as the entire area surrounding the finish line went on lock down and the finish line of the race became a crime scene.

It was 6:30 p.m. when Lisa was finally able to reconnect with her sister. The two of them, as well as the rest of the runners with Fleet Feet, decided to get a cab and go back to their hotel. They would have normally taken the subway, but everyone felt safer taking a cab after what had just happened. Lisa said originally everyone was upset with her because she picked a hotel that was close to the airport and pretty far from downtown, but after the day’s events everyone was happy to be leaving the city.

The bombings at the end of the Boston Marathon upset Lisa and all the runners. She said there is great camaraderie among runners and that this act of violence will not stop her. In fact, this has just made her want to run more and she is planning on running another marathon this fall.