Local Boston Marathon runners reflect on tragedy

Many of the Grand Strand and Pee Dee runners who were in the Boston Marathon are back home now, with some still shaken up by what they experienced after the terrorist bombing Monday.

"It really has hit home quite a bit to me," said Bruce Gregory, Coastal Carolina University's associate athletic director and an experienced marathon runner.

Gregory admitted to being exhausted Tuesday, after running the marathon the previous day and then staying up most of the night watching news coverage of the bombing.

He and his wife Traci heard the twin blasts Monday as they were walking to catch a subway ride to their hotel about 30 minutes after he had finished the race.

It wasn't until much later that they realized how close they had come to being victims.

"It could have happened at any time during the race and easily could have happened when I was going across the finish line, so it's very sobering," Gregory said.

The race had been Gregory's eighth Boston Marathon. He used to work in the city as a football coach, so he knows how Boston treasures its iconic running event.

His affection for the city and its marathon will not waver.

"I will be back to support the race," Gregory said. "It's the greatest marathon in the world and I'll definitely be back."

Sharon Jansky of Surfside Beach feels much the same way, though Monday's race was her first Boston Marathon and she didn't get a chance to complete it.

She was nearing the finish line when she heard the blasts and soon found out from other runners that what she had heard were bombs.

"Everybody was just kind of shell-shocked and not knowing what to do next, as far as where to go and what to do," Jansky said.

Within minutes, Jansky says it was a chaotic scene, with ambulances, fire trucks and police everywhere.

"There were some people crying, visibly upset and understandably so. Fortunately, I didn't see any of the injuries."

After a day of reflection, Jansky added that she's had a chance to take a deep breath and regroup, and while she feels saddened and angry by the attack, she still says the marathon is a wonderful event.

"It's just such a thrill to be there and if I ever had the opportunity I would definitely go again, I really would," she said.

Gregory says he thinks the running community will want to support the city and its race and the Boston Marathon will come back even stronger in the future.