Marathon bombers haven't put me off, says boxing champ
A former world champion boxer from Co Antrim caught up in the Boston Marathon bombing two years ago said terrorists will not stop him from running the route again.
Ballymena's Eamonn Loughran heard the first explosion as he crossed the finish line in the New England city on April 14, 2013.
Speaking as the race ran again yesterday, the champion fighter said: "I turned round because I thought the bang was one of the big speakers that had blown.
"Then the next one went off and I heard people shouting 'It's a bomb, it's a bomb'."
Two pressure cooker bombs had exploded 12 seconds apart, killing three people and injuring more than 260.
That morning, Eamonn told his wife Angela to wait for him at the finish line, where they would celebrate his efforts, but as he was caught up in the evacuation, it dawned on the ex-athlete that he did not know when or where they would see each other again.
He said: "She didn't know the way back to the hotel, but found a church and managed to get help there. An American couple found out from the leg monitor I'd been wearing that I'd finished the marathon, and they discovered I had made it back to the hotel. They put Angela in their car and brought her back to me."
In a decision that could have had a huge impact on her fate, Mrs Loughran had been told the waiting point she had agreed on with her husband was too busy, and instead was told to go a few yards down from the end of the race.
Eamonn added: "It was only by the grace of God that she had to stand further down or she would've been in the middle of it. But there were others, there was a young boy was killed. Some people lost legs. That could've been my wife, or the others from the hotel we stayed in."
Eamonn said the events of that day will always stay with him.
The 44-year-old is determined what happened that day two years ago will not put him off completing the run again.
He explained: "It does play on my mind but you can't let things like that stop you from moving on. It was upsetting at the time, but I think when you come from Northern Ireland you hear of these things all the time.
"I don't know when, but I might think about running the Boston marathon again before my 50th birthday."
Two brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, were behind the Boston attack. Tamerlan died in a shoot-out with police three days later, while Dzhokhar was later arrested. Dzhokhar confessed to planting the bombs and was found guilty. He could be jailed for life without parole, or face the death penalty.