Edinburgh Boston marathon runner talks of ‘horror’

Rescue workers help the injured near the finish line. Picture: Boston Herald
Rescue workers help the injured near the finish line. Picture: Boston Herald
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A CITY runner has spoken of her terror at being caught up in the “horrific” aftermath of the Boston Marathon 

Rosie Allister, 31, from Newington, who is deputy director of Edinburgh Samaritans and chairwoman of Vet Helpline, crossed the finish line around 30 minutes before the two blasts occurred.

Rosie Allister

Rosie Allister

Three people were killed, including an eight-year-old boy, and more than 176 injured by the bombs, and First Minister Alex Salmond described the incident as a “cowardly attack on innocent people”.

Former Edinburgh University student Rosie, right, is attempting to run 247 miles in two weeks to raise money for both charities, and said she remains defiant in her goal to complete Boston, the London Marathon and Great North Run. She said: “I’m due to be running the London Marathon on Sunday and will be wearing my Boston finisher shirt and remembering those affected by this tragedy.

“It’s so hard to take in. Of the 30 marathons I’ve run around the world, Boston was the best supported race anywhere I have run.”

Ms Allister refused to be drawn on the distressing scenes she had witnessed. She said: “I don’t want to talk about what I saw or heard yesterday. It was a horrific event”.

But Ms Allister posted on Facebook to reveal she had escaped unscathed.

She wrote: “If people have seen the news in Boston I’m now out of the immediate area and safe.”

Rosie, a volunteer at Edinburgh Samaritans, was running the Boston Marathon to raise funds for the charity.

Andrew Sim, Samaritans’ director for Scotland, said: “What happened at the Boston Marathon is a tragedy. Our thoughts are with the friends and family of those who have lost their lives or been injured, and all those who may have been affected by witnessing the horrific scenes.”

Dr Alasdair Conn, chief of emergency services at Massachusetts General Hospital described the horror scenes as the injured arrived. They included at least ten children

Dr Conn, who studied at Edinburgh University said “ This is the sort of carnage you expect to see in a war. In some cases people had their legs blown off. This is something I’ve never seen in my 25 years here, this amount of carnage in the civilian population”

At least five other people from the Lothians were among the runners in Boston, according to the marathon’s entry list – Neil Anderson, 50, James Baird, 54, Kate Gray, 49, Robert McAlpine, 55, and John Wilson, 45.

Mobile phone services were shut down in the wake of the blast, hampering the efforts of friends and family to contact their loved ones.

It has emerged that the bombs – ball bearings and nails contained within pressure cookers, concealed in rucksacks – were constructed to cause the maximum amount of casualties.

US president Barack Obama called it a “cowardly and heinous act” and vowed that the FBI, who are leading the investigation into what is being treated as an act of terrorism, would not rest until it had brought those responsible to justice. But he admitted that at present they had no idea who was behind the attacks. No-one has yet claimed responsibility.

Scottish police sources have said security chiefs would hold an urgent review of plans in place to protect competitors at next month’s Edinburgh Marathon.

Neil Kilgour, director of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, said yesterday that it was a sad day for the running community and that the safety of competitors was their main priority as they worked with the police.