POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Two hours after finishing the Boston Marathon, Pound Ridge’s Michael Leonard was unwinding in his hotel room with his family when they heard an explosion, sounding like “a large metal object crashing, or a dumpster falling off a truck,” he said.
They turned on the TV and saw live coverage of the bombing at the finish line, about three blocks away. “We sat there for an hour,” he said. Outside their hotel window, they could see people climbing up onto rooftops to see what was going on. “My wife was crying. She grabbed my son and we all just hugged one another.”
Leonard feels especially close to the Boston Marathon because he grew up just 20 miles to the west, in Natick. “It ran right through our town when I was a kid.”
Over the years, he has run 22 marathons, 10 of them in Boston. “I’ve never felt at risk running a marathon,” he said, “especially in Boston, where they do a really great job of organizing. I even ran in 2002, the first one after 9/11.”
The Leonards were staying at the Sheraton Hotel in the Boston Prudential Center, which was locked down for nearly 24 hours after the explosion. “It’s still a crime scene there,” he said Wednesday by cell phone. “It looks like a war zone and that whole area is still closed. Otherwise, things are okay. There are a lot of people out and around.”
The family had been planning to spend a few days in Boston sightseeing, so once they were free to leave their hotel they visited the children’s museum and the aquarium. “We’re trying to do as much as we can with a 15-month-old, but we’re heading back to Pound Ridge Wednesday.”
Will he run next year? “It hasn’t deterred my passion,” he said. “I’m going back and I hope other people will want to go back, too. We’re grateful we weren’t hurt, but we’re sorry at the same time. It’ll never be the same.”
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