It was a twist of fate that put the former Tracy High swim coach and experienced long-distance runner just ahead of two large explosions that killed at least three people and injured more than 130 near the finish line of the marathon around 2:50 p.m. EST.
“I felt it and heard it and turned around and saw the smoke cloud,” said Morehead, during in a phone interview on Monday. “I expected to see worse when I turned around.”
Morehead didn’t wait around to see the aftermath. She said that emergency officials began getting athletes and spectators out of the way so first responders could help.
“The crowd was very cooperative,” she said. “Everybody kept moving away from the finish line. When emergency vehicles came through, it was hard to hear them coming, but everybody cleared the street pretty quickly.”
The blasts happened about 10 seconds apart, four hours and nine minutes after the start of the race, according to news reports.
Morehead, 51, finished the race in 4:03:37. Right away she tried to find her cousin and running partner, Lynn Olavarri, who finished the race just ahead of her in 3:51:25. The search became more urgent after the blasts.
“I thought about 4:10, was what I’d be able to do, so she was pretty worried,” Morehead said.
It’s the fourth Boston Marathon for Morehead, who now lives in Pleasanton. She also ran the race in 2004, 2005 and 2006 when she was the swim coach at Tracy High.
Also running their individual races on Monday, were two Tracy men, Noel Colina, 53, and Leonel Monascal, 49.
Colina said that his exhilaration for completing his second Boston Marathon turned to fear less than a half-hour later. He finished the race in 3:45:04, about 24 minutes before the blasts, and said that his wife, Fate, and daughter, Alex, waited for him near the finish line.
They were leaving the area, and were about a block away from the finish line when the explosions happened.
“I didn’t see anything, but I heard the explosions,” said Colina, during in a phone interview from Boston on Monday. “ It was frightening when my wife told me she was in the area. I’m glad I finished the race earlier. I was really thankful to God.”
Monascal finished the race in 2:59:03, more than an hour before the blasts, according to the marathon website. He was unable to be reached for comment Monday.
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.