Boston bombings shake Aspen-area runners, supporters

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – At least seven Roaring Fork Valley runners competed in Monday’s Boston Marathon, which was marred four hours after the start of the race when explosions near the finish line left at least three people dead and more than 140 injured.

Aspen Councilman Adam Frisch was eating at an Indian restaurant with his wife, Katy, about three or four blocks from the finish line when he and others noticed emergency vehicles blasting their sirens and racing up and down the street.

“I crossed the finish line half an hour or so before the bombs went off,” he said. “At the restaurant, Katy and I were sitting, and then we heard a bunch of sirens, and so the restaurant turned on the television so we could find out what was happening.”

They didn’t leave the restaurant for a while, given all the commotion and reports of the possibility there could be more explosions along the 26.2-mile racecourse.

“We just figured it would be better to stay inside than to run around,” he said. Though the faster runners were finished, there were still thousands of people out on the course, Frisch said.

Frisch said it reminded him of 1993, when he was working at the World Trade Center when terrorists detonated a truck bomb there. Though their goal of destroying the two buildings failed that year, six people were killed, and more than 1,000 were injured.

“I got stuck on the roof of the World Trade Center for a couple of hours,” he said. “I was definitely in the middle of it. And here, I was just a couple of blocks away. It brought back the feelings of (the 1993 explosion) and 9/11 and living in New York City and stuff. It makes me glad to live in a safe place like Aspen.”

The Frisches planned to return home early Tuesday, in time for Adam’s 4 p.m. City Council work session. Their two children – Felix and Quintessa – weren’t with them on the trip to Boston, having stayed in Aspen under the care of Frisch’s mother-in-law.

“I want to give my kids a big hug,” he said.

Before the bombings, Frisch, a strong runner, competed well and finished the race in 3 hours, 13 minutes, 19 seconds, good enough for 4,378th place out of nearly 27,000 participants.

“My incredibly sore muscles pale in comparison to what’s going on here,” he said.

Steve Wickes, owner of Sundance Liquor and Gifts in Snowmass Village, said his daughter Whitney competed in the marathon.

Whitney Wickes, 23, is an Aspen High graduate who now lives in Boulder. She completed the marathon course in 3:16:17.

Steve Wickes said he was worried because for quite a while after the first report of the explosions, he hadn’t heard from his daughter and his wife, Barbara.

“She’s OK,” he said. “She and her mother milled around the finish area for about 15 minutes after she finished, but they left before the blast happened.”

He said Whitney and Barbara were inside a hotel, calling for a taxi, when the explosions occurred.

“What a difference when they came back out of the hotel; I guess the streets were just full of people running and screaming, and they had no idea what might have transpired,” Steve Wickes said.

“They didn’t call for a while,” he added. “I was watching the news, hoping everything was OK. I think the cell service was pretty poor there for the first hour. I’m very glad that she trained hard and finished well ahead of the blast.”

Aspen home mortgage consultant Jody Cooper, mother of race participant Brandon Cooper, 25, said the event made for a long and nerve-racking day.

“We’re fine; we just really feel for the other people who were injured (or died),” Jody Cooper said.

They had just gotten back to their hotel, the Boston Marriott Copely Place, a block or two from the finish line, when the bombs went off.

“It’s crazy down here,” she said at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. “We’re just holed up in the hotel hoping nothing else happens.”

Emergency workers were still treating injured people late into the evening, Cooper said.

“There are ambulances everywhere, and they are still transporting people to the hospital,” she said. “It’s really bad.”

“We’re pretty shaken up,” Cooper said. “It’s a weird feeling. These are just innocent people, running. Why people would want to hurt people that are running in a race, … that’s the hard thing to understand.”

No other local residents who ran or watched the marathon could be reached for comment Monday afternoon. Cellphone service in Boston was said to be spotty for much of the day. Frisch called The Aspen Times from a land-line phone.

Below is a list of Roaring Fork Valley residents who completed Monday’s Boston Marathon, along with their ages and final times. The list is made up of runners who identified themselves to the Boston Athletic Association as residents of Aspen, Snowmass Village, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. It does not purport to be all-inclusive.

• Aspen: Brandon Cooper, 25, 2:53:22; Adam Frisch, 45, 3:13:19.

• Snowmass Village: Andrew Henry, 30, 3:09:15.

• Carbondale: Nicole Cavarra, 36, 3:29:02; Robin Schiller, 60, 4:02:53.

• Glenwood Springs: Scott Grosscup, 40, 3:05:28; Sharma Phillips, 35, 3:41:04.


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