Jeb Thomas, 21
This was my first full marathon, and at mile 19, a medic called me off the course because he saw me limping. Going into it, I knew I would be in tough shape since I have a foot injury, and I started feeling pain around mile 13. I was bummed, of course, because Boston College, where I’m in my senior year, was only 2 miles away. I also didn’t want to let down my supporters. There were a lot of people looking for me to run the race for my cousin Katie, who passed away from liver cancer in 2010.
I knew my family was waiting for me at Marathon Sports downtown, but once I knew I couldn’t finish the race, I called them and told them to meet me back at the hotel. At mile 19, the medic who pulled me off also let me call for taxi after about 30 minutes of me being disappointed in myself. I was going to take the medical bus to the finish line, where another bus waits to take runners back, but I was really discouraged so I just wanted to go back to the hotel. I heard the breaking news on the radio in the cab. We saw cars and police speeding down the highway. There was so much chaos. I didn’t see my mom when we got to the hotel and I was pretty worried. It turned out my family was waiting for me in the lobby. They’d hailed a taxi a few seconds before the bombs went off, and then it was complete and utter mayhem. I think there were many close calls like theirs. I was disappointed to not finish the race, but it wound up working out really well for my family and me. We all believe that this was my little cousin looking down on us. She’s our guardian angel.
—As told to Boston magazine. Photo by Scott M. Lacey