Maui Runner in Boston Marathon Calls Bombings “Devastating”
By Wendy Osher
Maui Now has learned of at least two women from Maui who were running in the Boston Marathon that was interrupted by deadly explosions on Monday.
Jennifer Tom of Launiupoko, Maui, finished the race in a net time of 3 hours 21 minutes and 40 seconds, at 1:26 p.m. ET, about 1 hour and 24 minutes before the explosions were reported.
“So by time the explosion[s] occurred I was already back at the hotel,” said Tom in an email communication.
Tom, who is a full-time marathon runner said her boyfriend, Joe Medwetz, and father, Anthony Tom were actually waiting for her “in the exact location of the explosion,” but had moved from the site after viewing her pass by and finish the race.
“I’m thankful I came in about an hour before the tragic event,” said Tom. She continued saying, “I am so thankful that my friends and family are safe and my heart goes out to the victims.”
Tom said it was especially tough for her dad to hear the news given that her sister survived the 2001 terror attacks at the World Trade Center. According to Tom, her sister was in the second tower, and survived, but the tragedy surrounding today’s incident was a bit too close to home.
Tom said she learned of the tragic events from a good friend and race volunteer, Ginny Chang, who texted her from the site what had happened. “I turned on CNN and was immediately saddened and in tears,” she said.
Tom commented on her Facebook page following the race calling the incident “devastating.”
This was Tom’s fifth consecutive year running the Boston Marathon, after her first race in 2009.
Meantime, Kelly Watanabe of Maui reached the half-way point of the Boston Marathon at 2 hours 3 seconds, according to race results. It is unknown when she would have crossed the finish line, but the two successive explosions were heard in the area at 2:50 p.m. ET (8:50 a.m. HST).
Watanabe is the Treasurer for Valley Isle Road Runner Club, and is a fitness instructor and lecturer at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College. Our attempts to reach Watanabe by cell phone were unsuccessful.
Tom said she heard that all Hawaii participants were “OK,” but we were unable to confirm the information with authorities.
Senator J. Kalani English of Maui was among the Hawai’i government officials who released a statement in the wake of the tragedy. The following was his statement:
“I join leaders in our nation to offer my heartfelt aloha to the victims and their families of today’s horrific event in Boston. My thoughts and prayers go to the people of Boston, Massachusetts and although we are thousands of miles away, we stand united to support them through this senseless act.”
The Department of Public Safety issued a statement on Monday saying they will work with their law enforcement partners, both county and federal, to decide if any other security measures are needed, based upon the current threat analysis for the state.
“The public can be assured that, based upon today’s events, large venues or activities will be scrutinized thoroughly,” DPS officials said in the statement.