Local reaction to Boston Marathon explosions

SAN DIEGO - Two San Diegans who are prominent members of the running community reacted to the explosions that happened near the finish line of Monday's Boston Marathon.

San Diegan Meb Keflezighi was not competing in Monday's race due to an injury, but his four-member team with members from his foundation were running in the race.

Keflezighi was on pins and needles as he waited to hear from two of the four members. At 2 p.m. San Diego time, he told 10News all four members were accounted for and were reunited safely with their families.

Keflezighi was at the finish line for hours and had just returned to his hotel when he heard the explosion. He didn't know what the sound was, and security at his hotel immediately placed everyone on lockdown.

"I just feel very blessed God was watching me," Keflezighi said.

Keflezighi said he had witnessed many acts of people helping other people at the finish line before the blasts occurred. He said there were people competing in wheelchairs and he spent hours taking pictures of what he calls "beautiful moments of the celebration of life."

In 1966, San Diegan Bobbi Gibb became the first woman to compete in the Boston Marathon. When she was told women were not allowed to run, she threw a hoodie over her long, blond hair and crashed course. Gibb blew the crowd's mind when she revealed her hair and finished ahead of two-thirds of the male runners.

Gibb was in Boston Monday as one of the race's grand marshals.

"The marathon is always like a family reunion to me. It's an event about the celebration of life and this is just a shock," she told 10News.

Gibb spent hours in a VIP section at the finish line before going home. When she turned on the TV, she was in disbelief over what happened.

Gibb, a medical researcher and author, called her son to let him know she was OK, but she had a difficult time getting through because of the jammed phone lines. Gibb is also waiting to hear from friends who were on the course and are unaccounted for.

"The Boston Marathon is a celebration of life and here we have two deaths on our hands and multiple injuries, it's hard not to burst out into tears; on the other hand, I am furious, absolutely enraged that someone could do this," Gibb said.

San Diegan Arcelia Cammel told 10News she finished the race just minutes before the blasts.

"I thought it was cannons that went off or some kind of ceremony," she said.

Cammel was still shaken when she spoke with 10News late Monday evening from her hotel room and says the city is shell-shocked.

"They're telling everyone to stay home, don't go out... I know everything is pretty much locked down," she said.

According to the Boston Marathon website, a number of runners were from San Diego County:

San Diego: 126
Carlsbad: 19
Del Mar: 7
Escondido: 6
Oceanside: 6
San Marcos: 6
Chula Vista: 5
La Mesa: 5
El Cajon: 4
Poway: 4
Lakeside: 1
Ramona: 1
Vista: 1

Hotlines for families: 617-635-4500
For tips: 1-800-494-TIPS

Some facts about the Boston Marathon:

-- The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest, still-running marathon. The first run was held in 1887.
-- Of the 26,655 runners who competed last year, only 21,616 finished.
-- In 2012, 15,503 males and 11,152 females registered for the marathon.
-- There were 39 wheelchair applicants and 22 handcycle applicants in 2012.
-- There were 92 countries represented at last year's event. Fifty-five U.S. states and territories were also represented in 2012.
-- Only runners 18 and over are allowed to participate, however, there is no age maximum. Last year, 81-year-old Madonna Buder finished in five hours and 48 minutes. She was the only female aged 80+ participating in the race last year.
-- Ibrahim Hussein became the first black male to claim victory at Boston in 1988.
-- Women were excluded from the race until 1972.
-- An estimated 500,000 people, nearly 80 percent of Boston's population, line the race route.
-- The winner receives $150,000  and an extra $25,000 if they break a course record.

Sources: Boston Athletic Association and ESPN.com

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