Local runners crossed finish line minutes before explosions

Published On: Apr 16 2013 09:39:21 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 17 2013 07:48:23 AM CDT
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

Crossing the finish line at the Boston Marathon is a moment serious runners dream about. For two women from our area, however, that moment on Monday quickly turned from triumph to tragedy.

"As soon as those two explosions went off, you really didn't know in the race area when the next bomb might go off," said Laura O'Flaherty, a runner from La Crosse.

O'Flaherty had finished her run about 30 minutes before the bombs went off. She was cooling down about 200 yards away from the site of the first explosion.

"You are there hugging someone because there is the jubilation of having just finished the marathon and all of a sudden you're hugging someone because you're consoling them," she added.

"When the second one went off, we all looked at each other and knew something was going on," said Nancy McCoy, a runner from Tomah.

McCoy had just finished her run about 15 minutes before the blasts. When she heard the explosions, she thought about her husband and two sons who had been cheering her on right near the finish line.

They ended up being OK but may have escaped injury by just minutes.

"It turned out (my son) had just taken a picture of me as I was running through at about the location of the first bomb so we're going to actually send that in because (authorities) are looking for information," said McCoy.

Both women can be proud they crossed the finish line and thankful they escaped the tragedy unharmed.