Retired DO teacher and wife tell of Boston Marathon bombingBy: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Editor
It took almost two hours for Nancy March, wife of retired Del Oro teacher and coach Steve March, to find her husband after the Boston Marathon bombings and to know that he wasn’t one of the victims.
Nancy March said she knew her husband was waiting for her at the finish line as she ran the Boston Marathon on April 15.
Steve March said that luckily he was across the street from the blast, which he described as 50 yards away. He said he immediately dropped to the ground, as did others around him, when he heard what he thought was a cannon blast that hurt his ears and blew out the window glass in the buildings across the street.
He said after the second blast a nearby security guard told everyone to “Get the hell out of here,” but he said there was chaos and panic and people didn’t know where to go. He said he went inside a building and saw some of the wounded, who were mobile. He said they had cuts on their arms and legs.
He described hearing the sounds of breaking wood, then seeing police, security guards and bystanders tear down the wooden fence to get to the blast area.
“I didn’t realize there were people under the debris,” he said.
He watched as victims were loaded into ambulances and kept asking everyone where the runners were going to be.
“I felt she was going to be OK,” Steve March said of his wife.
He said he was directed to the family waiting area and told runners would eventually end up there.
Nancy March described her experience. She said she was running and was about 200 yards from the final turn that would lead into the home stretch – about a third of a mile from the finish line – when all of a sudden everyone just stopped.
“I didn’t hear the blasts. I heard the crowd cheering the runners, but you aren’t focused on the sounds,” she said
She said runners with cell phones called friends and family waiting ahead for them and that is how they learned of the bombings. She said they offered her their phones to call her husband, but she couldn’t remember his cell phone number.
“We heard that two people died, but we didn’t know how many were injured. I had no idea how close he (Steve) was.
She said all of the runners near her were in shock at hearing the news and others were very upset.
“Steve was waiting for me at the finish line. I kept hoping it wasn’t Steve,” she said.
As the runners waited, she said they began to chill and cramp up. She said people came out of homes and buildings and brought food, water, coats and even trash bags that the runners could cover themselves with.
“The worst part was not knowing what was happening,” Nancy March said.
“You think the worst. It was very frightening.”
She said the runners waited about 50 minutes before they were redirected and she said it took her 30 more minutes to reach the family area.
She said, “It was a wonderful sight,” when she finally found her husband.
Steve March said, “We hugged. We were both so relieved.”
She said the aftermath of the bombing was “like a war zone.”
She said guards with assault rifles stood outside the hotels and roads were closed. Some hotels had been evacuated and people with nothing but the clothes on their backs were left without anywhere to stay.
“A lot of people in the Boston area offered up their homes,” Nancy March said.
She said she went through a variety of emotional stages during the ordeal.
She said she was first “scared and you don’t know what’s going on, then sad.”
“I get extremely angry that someone would do something like that to people who didn’t have anything to do with anything,” she said.
And she said she can’t stop thinking about the victims and how their family’s lives have been changed forever.
Steve March said, “It was very emotional and terrifying. It was an experience I wouldn’t want to go through again.”
The couple, who lives in Cool, left Boston on Tuesday and went to Salem and return to Northern California later this week. They traveled with Gloria and Ken Takaghishi, who were raised in Loomis and Penryn. The Takaghishis were also both unharmed.