The Suburbanite
  • Stark County runner recalls Boston Marathon

  • Beth McClain, of Plain Township, came within a half mile of completing the Boston Marathon. A calf injury slowed her pace and may have saved her life.

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  • Shortly after starting the Boston Marathon, Beth McClain felt pain throbbing in her right calf. The injury may have saved her life.
    McClain, 48, of Plain Township, pushed through the discomfort.
    “I was charging the finish at that point,” she recalled of Monday’s event. “There was nothing in my mind but finishing — I was putting all pain aside at that point.”
    And then she had to stop at 25.5 miles — less than a mile from completing the 26.2-mile race. Bombs had exploded at the finish line — preventing McClain and other runners from continuing.
    “I hurt my calf muscle, so I was going slower than I normally would have like to have gone ... and I kept thinking all those people who passed me on hills, maybe their families were waiting for them at the finish.”
    Her husband, Aaron, who was at the event as a spectator, had missed his wife at the 22-mile mark. Then he heard about the mayhem. So he pumped his legs and arms frantically for three miles before reaching Beth.
    “He missed me at mile 22 or he would have been at the finish line waiting for me,” she said on Wednesday. “I thank God, we were blessed ... not to be at the finish line when it happened.”
    “He got to me and just grabbed me ... and said, ‘Thank God you’re OK, thank God you’re OK.”
    McClain said she’s been following news reports on the investigation into the bombing.
    “They need to be held responsible,” she said of the culprit or persons behind the incident. “... It sickens me like everybody else.”
    “I just know they’re going to find out who did it,” McClain said of authorities. “I know they will — they’re very competent; I believe in the system and I think they’re going to do whatever it takes to find out what’s who’s responsible and get them.”
    Running in the iconic marathon was a lifelong goal. She had qualified in 2011 at the Columbus Marathon.
    It wasn’t immediately clear to McClain why runners were stopped. She found out in a text message from the son of a friend in Stark County. More texts poured into her cellphone.
    From where she stood, McClain didn’t hear explosions or screams. The massive cheering along the route likely drowned out the bombs. Emergency vehicles soon roared past.
    “I saw people being wheeled by ... (and someone) who had his legs covered and his head down,” she said.
    Not until later did it fully sink in that she was shy a medal. “At the time I didn’t care,” McClain said. “I just wanted to know that everybody was OK. ... I didn’t know if people were hurt or not.”
    Page 2 of 2 - She said she would like to run in the Boston Marathon again “just to prove that we’re strong and we’re not going to be ... taken down.”

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