Two-Time Boston Marathon Winner Geoff Smith Describes Explosion Scene

Monday, April 15, 2013


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Elite runner Geoff Smith had left the Boston Marathon finish line and was only a few blocks away when the explosions occurred.

Two-time Boston Marathon winner and elite world-class runner Geoff Smith enjoyed more than two hours in the VIP section of the Boston Marathon finish line when he and his 23-year-old daughter moved up the street to a local restaurant to share a meal with friends. 

Smith left his party for the men's room visit. When he returned, he entered a restaurant and bar that had gone from being full of noise to being completely silent. 

"'What's going on?'" Smith thought, as he faced the suddenly hushed bar. "People were barely speaking, just saying 'Oh my God'. Everyone was looking at the television screens at the bar."

The explosions just down the street had not registered inside the restaurant, 390 Post, which is across Boylston Street from the John Hancock Tower and just blocks from the explosion site. The crowd took in the news on the bar's televisions. In fact, Smith says, his daughter began received worried texts from friends before it even came on the TV.

"I watched for a minute and then I said to my daughter that the best thing is to get out of the city," Smith told GoLocalProv by phone. "We walked down Tremont Street, got in our car, and got out of the city." Smith said that the normally chaotic atmosphere after any Boston Marathon was in fact oddly subdued. "All we could hear was sirens," he said. "About 12 ambulances went past us as we made our way to the car."

Smith left the city south toward his home in Mattapoisett, feeling the highways fill up around him. "Usually it's empty at this point after a marathon," he said.

"The sad thing," he said, "is that most of the people who were there are mothers, father, husbands, wives, children. They are waiting for their family members to finish the race." Smith added that a lot of these people are running for charity who finish in the time area that coincided with the explosions. 

"It leaves a hollow feeling in your whole body," he said "What can you do?"

Smith is a two-time winner of the famed race in 1984 and 1985, as well as a two-time Olympian. 

He said he wondered what would happen in the aftermath. "What's it going to do to everything?" he asked. "It's not just the Boston Marathon. It's everything. It's our way of life."


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