Like many concerned Jamaica Plain residents, Henry Beguiristain wondered about the safety of his friends running and watching the marathon yesterday. But in his case, the danger was closer than most: his friend, Tim Hare, was mere feet away from the second explosion. Hare, who was uninjured, told the Gazette his eyewitness account.
Beguiristain found out Hare was running the Boston Marathon about an hour before the explosions took place. Hare was unharmed, but told Beguiristain a disturbing piece of information—he had been 15 feet away from the garbage can that he said contained the second bomb as it exploded.
“I was relieved he was OK. I’d only found out an hour earlier that he was running, so I was worried and filled with dread that something horrible happened to him,” Beguiristain told the Gazette. “On balance, [I’m] extremely grateful that there are more good eggs than bad in the world,” he said.
“The flash bang of the explosion is forever burned into my brain. I’ll never forget that as long as I live,” Hare told the Gazette in a phone interview. “It’s very disorienting to see something like that. To see something explode so close to you is pretty terrifying.”
Hare, a Newton resident, had passed the 26-mile marker and was running along Boylston Street when he heard the first explosion go off, next to the finish line just ahead. Looking around, he saw the second explosion happen no more than 15 feet to his left.
“I saw smoke, some fire. It sounded like a cannon. I thought they were doing some kind of celebratory cannon blast,” he said of the first explosion. “[But] once the second explosion went off, I knew it was some kind of attack.”
Hare was the one of the two closest runners to the second explosion, he said. He said he was the first to report to authorities that it was a garbage can that exploded.
Once he realized that the explosions were not part of the marathon plan, Hare said he turned around and started running in the opposite direction.
“I expected the whole city block to go up. I was trying to get away and alert other runners,” he said. “It’s a horrible, horrible tragedy.”
“I’ve thanked the universe quite a bit since yesterday,” he said. “What separated me from serious injury was the 15 feet between me and that trash can and the 30 seconds longer it took me to get to the finish line.”
Hare, meanwhile, is focusing on the good things he witnessed yesterday.
“To have [the marathon and Patriot’s Day] marred and tainted like this is just awful,” Hare said. “But there were a lot of individuals who ran toward the fire and the chaos to try and save lives.”
“I saw a lot of people who were scared and running away. You have a laser-like focus. My body was telling me to go. I was running for my life,” he continued. “Those people [who ran toward the explosions] are like superheroes to me. For how scared I was, they ran in to help, without question, without fear.”
“It was a split-second decision. They ran toward all that violence and gore and saved people’s lives. I think that’s the most important story to be told, complete strangers helping complete strangers. There were a lot of heroes that day,” he finished.