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The Times
  • Local runners share Boston Marathon experience

  • On Monday, the entire country understood the feeling of terror after two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon in the packed streets near the finish line.

    For the Mohawk Valley community, the bombing couldn’t come any closer to home after the shooting tragedy last month in the villages of Herkimer and Mohawk.

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  • On Monday, the entire country understood the feeling of terror after two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon in the packed streets near the finish line.
    For the Mohawk Valley community, the bombing couldn’t come any closer to home after the shooting tragedy last month in the villages of Herkimer and Mohawk.
    Michael Abdullah, of Mohawk, has participated in over 20 marathons and said he never experienced a marathon like this before.
    This year marked the 52-year-old’s eighth year running the Boston Marathon.
    At the time of the bombing Abdullah had already finished the race and was far from the area where the incident occurred.
    Abdullah said he finished the 26.2 mile race in 3:05:09.
    “This was the fastest marathon I have run in 15 years and I don’t understand it, because I was injured a month before the race and after healing I thought I might be able to finish around 3:30,” he said. “I really don’t know how I ran so fast, it was almost like something inside of me said keep going and I did.”
    When Abdallah made it to the finish line he said everything was great.
    “Once I was all done I headed to the family meeting area which was about three blocks away from the finish line to meet my wife, Stacy, and after I finished everything there we headed out of Boston to the T-train,” he said.
    It wasn’t until Abdallah was on the train 30 minutes outside the city that the bombing occurred. “We were so far away from the marathon area that we didn’t feel anything and we didn’t even know it happened,” he said.
    Abdallah said after getting to his car and driving on the Mass Pike he finally realized something happened.
    “I saw police and ambulance vehicles speeding toward the city and I thought they were racing to an accident on the Mass Pike so I turned on the radio to find out what was going on and then we heard there had been a bombing at the Boston Marathon,” he said.
    “When I heard what happened I felt very lucky to run as fast as I did. If I ran the time I originally projected myself to run I would have been near the finish line when the bombs went off,” he added.
    Although the bombing was a shock to Abdallah he said he plans to race in the Boston Marathon again next year.
    “There is no other race that compares to the Boston Marathon. When you run the race the atmosphere is filled with cheering from the crowd and the amount of enthusiasm motivates you to keep going for miles,” he said. “We just had a catastrophe similar to this and it makes it personal because lives were lost, but we have to stay positive. The crowds’ dedication to cheer all the runners on is the reason why I’m going back again next year.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Similar to Abdallah, Bill Kosina, of Richfield Springs, said he was on the T-train when the bombings occurred. Kosina said he didn’t know what happened, but while switching train lines he noticed the MTA officials trying to maintain order in a nonchalant way without causing hysteria.
    “People were really quiet more so than usual and at that time I didn’t know what happened, but the people with smart phones did,” he said. “It wasn’t until we got to our car and on the Mass Pike that we knew what happened.”
    When Kosina was traveling on the Mass Pike he said he saw police vehicles and what looked to be bomb units in military-style tanks heading towards the city.
    Kosina said the race started fine and went smoothly, but at the start he did notice a heightened security presence along with military personal on the rooftops of nearby buildings.
    “I finished the race at 3:29:36 and after that I waited on the bleachers at the finish line for my family 25 minutes before heading to the train. If I were there any longer I would have been sitting directly across from where the bombing occurred,” he said.
    “It really puts things in perspective because a lot of the locals were very concerned, but they were still there willing to help with directions or answer questions,” he added.
    Although Kosina is anticipating a heightened degree of security for next year’s marathon he said he plans to run next year. “I’m definitely going to run again and I’m not going to let what happened detour me. I have faith in God and I plan to run in the Boston Marathon again,” he said.
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