Boston Marathon runners return home to Tampa

6:10 PM, Apr 16, 2013   |    comments
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Dr. Bruce Shephard was competing in his 9th Boston Marathon and could see the finish line when the first bomb went off, but initially he wasn't sure what was going on.


Boston Marathon Bombing

Full coverage of the twin bombing terrorist attack that struck the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.

* PICS: Boston bombing explosion pictures
* PICS: Aftermath on Boylston Street
* Boston Marathon Bombing: Casualties, dozens injured after twin explosions at finish line 
* PICTURES: FBI releases images of 2 suspects
* Boy, 8, killed in Boston Marathon blasts
* Restaurant manager also killed
* Chinese grad student third dead victim
* OBAMA "We will find out who did this"
* Transcript of President Obama's immediate remarks
* Bombing "an act of terrorism"
* INVESTIGATION: FBI taking lead in Boston Marathon bombings
* Search is on: Boston Bombing suspect
* FBI in Boston: No known additional threats
* Mass. Gov: No unexploded bombs at Boston Marathon
* VIRAL PIC: Man on roof above Boston blast
* Know someone there?: How to find a marathon runner
* Google Boston Marathon person finder
* VIDEO: 10 News reporter Noah Pransky live from the scene
* Fear and fury from local marathon runner
* PRESSURE COOKERS suspected to have been bomb devices
* People running in remembrance of Boston victims
* Elderly runner seen falling down is unhurt
* Bomb parts pictured in leaked FBI bulletin
* Family Guy Hoax: Show creator condemns bomb-clip mashup
* Who is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?
* CAUGHT! Bombing suspect in custody after standoff
* Surviving suspect answers questions in hospital


Tampa, Florida - "It went from a well organized race to complete chaos and confusion," says Dr. Bruce Shephard, shortly after he got off a plane from Boston. He was competing in his ninth Boston Marathon and could see the finish line when the first bomb went off, but initially he wasn't sure what was going on.

"You don't think about anything, but you're focused on the running and I just saw this thing... it was like amazement, but not anything more than that," says Shephard, who likened the sound to that of the Bucs' cannon going off.

But all that changed with a few more strides along the street, and the second blast and the tide of people running the wrong way.

"I was probably 150 yards from the second one; when that went off, I was scared," he said.

Meantime, Shephard's longtime partner Coleen Christensen thought she'd missed him at the finish, so she headed back to their hotel room.

But instead of celebrations on the street below, from her window she viewed carnage.

"That is all blood," Christensen says pointing to video playing on her tablet. And with no cell service, the passing minutes were excruciating. "I didn't know where he was," she said, tearing up. "If you turn the volume up, you'd probably hear me saying 'Bruce, where are you? Bruce, where are you?'"

More than an hour went by before Coleen finally got word that Bruce was safe. 

"I was going to the medical tents and it was so hard to get around, because the police kept pushing us back, pushing us back and pushing us back. It was just incredible."

And after all of that, the couple is glad to be back in Tampa. "It's a relief to be home. I'm glad we're home early," says Coleen.

Still, like so many runners told 10 News on Tuesday, Shephard says next year he'll be back in Boston, with every reason to celebrate.

"I've already qualified for next year and I'll be back for my 10th time," he firmly vows. "It will be on my birthday."

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