Two officials run away from the first explosion, right, on Boylston Street at the 177th Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Latin American runners scrambled to find families after the Boston Marathon explosions

It was supposed to be the moment runners stop and celebrate.  But for an Argentinian runner, the Boston Marathon finish line meant he had to keep running.

For an entire year, Alejandro Rodriguez and Adriana Deinhardt had organized every detail for their trip to Boston where they would take part in the prestigious race alongside 24 other Argentinians. The plan was simple; whoever finished first would wait for the other alongside side their two daughters just meters past the finish line.

But only Rodriguez was able finish.

“Just as I crossed the finish line I heard the first explosion,” says Rodriguez, who was just 40 meters way from the two deadly explosions that claimed the lives of three spectators and injured hundreds. “I quickly turned around and I saw the second explosion and all of the chaos. I saw everything — people on the floor, tables, and chairs where spectators were siting.”

Deinhart was still blocks away from the finish line. After four hours of searching, the couple managed to find each other at a park and later reunited with their daughters.

Boston Marathon

Terri-Ann Barletti and Kristian Barletti during the Boston Marathon Expo, two days before the race. (Courtesy Kristian Barletti)

Just blocks away, Kristian Barletti, 42, was also waiting for his wife. The experienced marathon runner from Lima, Peru was changing clothes when he heard the loud boom in the distance.

“The ground shook and nobody knew what happened. We all looked around, it was all just really loud,” says Barletti, who claims the events took back to his teenage years. “A few memories came back. I felt a few bombs during the 80’s and 90’s when I lived in Peru, so I could tell something was wrong.”

The Barlettis were among the families who were running in memory of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims.

“The marathon was supposed to have a completely different meaning for us,” says Barletti, who had to go on a three-hour mission to be reunited with his wife, who was still miles away from completing the race.

This year, close to 27,000 runners representing 96 countries including Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Colombia participated in the prestigious Marathon. Among the elite runners was former Mexican Olympic runner Madai Perez from Tlaxcala, Mexico who came in 7th place this year, minutes before the first explosion.

Just miles away from the explosion, former Mexican president Felipe Calderon, assured twitter followers that he and his family were doing well.

“We were watching the marathon from a few kilometers before the finish line,” he tweeted.
“Whoever did this wants us to be afraid,” says Barletti. “That’s not what running is about. It’s about what people can do and how far they can push themselves and that’s why we will not be afraid.”

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