Wheeling Runner Had Just Finished

BOSTON – As soon as Wheeling resident Tom Rownd finished running his 19th Boston Marathon, he witnessed a “horrific” scene that left at least three people dead and more than 130 injured.

“I looked up and saw the black smoke. I then immediately saw another explosion,” said Rownd, who previously has served as president of the Ohio Valley Runners and Walkers Club. “I was probably three or four blocks away by then.”

Rownd said he was walking back to his hotel when he witnessed the blasts. He said the hotel was on lockdown late Monday.

“If you look outside, all you can see are police and police vehicles,” he during a telephone interview. “This is unlike anything I have ever seen.”

Originally planning to fly home from Boston today, Rownd was not sure late Monday if he would be able to do so because of the lockdown situation. He said some folks who had been out in the street were ordered into the hotel lobby so that police could investigate the scene.

Rownd said he was still looking for his first meal since completing the marathon around 8 p.m. Monday, noting hotel officials were attempting to make arrangements to feed everyone in the hotel because no one was allowed to leave.

“Our problems are so minor compared to those who have been injured or killed,” he said. “This is just unimaginable.”

Rownd said he hopes whoever is responsible for the Boston bombing is brought to justice.

“Things like this just shouldn’t happen,” he added.

In addition to Rownd, several Ohio Valley participants in the marathon have been confirmed safe.

Mariah Donovan, a 19-year-old runner from Moundsville, was reported safe through several Twitter posts from friends. Bellaire St. John’s cross country coach said two of his former runners, Nick Habursky and Kristen Heilmeier, are safe. Sean Flanagan from Wheeling posted to his Twitter feed that he and his group are safe and in their hotel.

West Liberty University cross country coach Eric Laughlin also reported he was OK via text message. Laughlin said he was less than 1,000 meters from the blast when it happened.

“When it happened, everyone just took off running … it was chaos,” Laughlin said.

Rownd said Wheeling residents Walter Seamon and Eric Matyskiela also were safe Monday. A relative of Wheeling resident David J. Kozusnik said he was safe, as well.