The silence is what sticks out most in Stacy Scalfaro’s mind.
Scalfaro, a Lee’s Summit resident whose second appearance April 15 in the Boston Marathon took an unexpected turn shortly after she crossed the finish line in 3 hours, 54 minutes, described the reaction of the crowd as quiet and calm after two explosions near the marathon’s finish line killed three and injured between a reported 140-170 people, many of who were suffering what is being called war-type injuries with missing limbs and shrapnel wounds.
A mere 14 minutes after the Lee’s Summit resident crossed the finish line at the 117th annual, 26.2 mile-race, an explosion rocked the area, and sent a horde of runners and onlookers into a panic-induced cover for safety. But not before a brief moment of silent calm followed by fear.
“We heard a very loud explosion but we thought, ‘oh, what was that?’” Scalfaro said April 15 in an interview with the Journal via telephone from Boston about one hour after the explosions. “It was very confusing. And then that confusion sort of turned into that calm; that fear. You know that calm that you feel before people start to get scared? It just got really, really quiet and calm and that’s (surprising) for a loud, big city.”
Running the race with friends Diana Stauffer of Lee’s Summit and Alison Hatfield of Grain Valley, Scalfaro said the explosion took everyone by surprise.
Scalfaro and Stauffer were among six marathon runners who listed Lee’s Summit as their hometown according to the Boston Athletic Association’s website. Others included Amber Chisesi, Ryan Fry, Rebecca Hendrickson and Todd Peters. Attempts to reach Chisesi, Fry, Hendrickson and Peters for comment were unsuccessful.
Scalfaro, who along with her two friends and family members that made the trip to Boston were uninjured, described the ordeal as “out of the ordinary.”
“We are all safe,” she said. “We were evacuated from our hotel, and we’re fine. We came in right under 3 hours and 55 minutes and the explosion happened at 4 hours, 9 minutes. We’re alright, just a little scared right now. The FBI is sweeping our hotel room right now and the airport (Logan) is shut down. We’re just kind of wandering the streets, so that doesn’t help. We’re just on the streets right now.”
Scalfaro and her husband and friends were informed during the interview that they would not be able to return to their hotel room for quite a while, but as of Monday night, Scalfaro reported on her Facebook page that after some local strangers-turned-friends took them in, they were able to return to the Copley Square Hotel, which is about a block from the finish line.
“It’s just been chaos,” Scalfaro said. “I feel just anxious and overwhelmed and wanting to get home safely; just kind of not sure what to expect, so a lack of control is scary.”
Scalfaro said the FBI, bomb squads and “army trucks” arrived on the scene and that they were moved further away from the site of the bombing. She said in her opinion the security on site was adequate for a race that included nearly 27,000 runners and just as many, if not more, spectators.
“Our hotel even told us they were going to upgrade security,” Scalfaro said. “The security isn’t anything heighten. It’s just a typical – a marathon is just a happy, fun event. I’m just shocked. Runners are pretty laid back. It’s just a crowd of people that are there to inspire each other, so this is pretty out of the ordinary.
“I read this before and I don’t know if this is accurate, but the Boston Marathon is the second most spectator event next to the Super Bowl. There are 26.2 miles lined with spectators. Picture that distance and there are spectators the entire way. I did it in (2009) and I’ve never seen anything ran more smoothly and more organized.”
Scalfaro, Stauffer and Hatfield and their families all returned safely April 16 to Kansas City International Airport.