PENSACOLA, Fla (WALA) - A Molino pastor and marathon runner is back at home having been in Boston to run the marathon.
He spoke to FOX10 News Tuesday about his experience.
Rusty Branch ran the Boston Marathon in respectable fashion, completing it in less than three hours.
"Running Boston is different than any other race; they say about 500,000 spectators come to that race," said Branch, who finished the 117th Boston Marathon with a 2:58:25 race.
He started the race at 10:00 am EST and finished around 1:00 pm, Monday, April 15.
"I mean, you're talking about 26.2 miles of individuals and the idea of fans shouting. There's never any time to just settle in and run the marathon," said Branch.
You can't just sign up and run the Boston marathon; you must qualify within a specific time at another sanctioned marathon. Runners call it your "BQ" or Boston Qualifier.
"And so for a lot of people this is a celebration of an accomplishment," said Branch.
He and teammates from the Running Wild store in Pensacola finished the race before two explosions injured hundreds and killed at least three people near the finish line spectator bleachers.
By this time, Branch and his family were taking trains on their way to Boston's Logan International Airport.
He said the stations were crowded and some people seemed to be in a panic, but he, being physically drained didn't pay much attention to it until he saw the images on TV.
"It was a real eerie situation to compound what was already happening, everybody was glued to the TV sets," said Branch.
Once at the airport, security was heightened, planes had stopped landing, and lights inside the terminal were flickering on and off.
This is what Branch said when asked if he and his wife were nervous about flying out of Boston: "I wasn't but my wife asked me several times: should we get a car or go somewhere."
Branch and his wife made it home safely last night, now rested he has been thinking about the incident in a new light.
"It's this big celebratory thing when you head down Boyleston Street to the finish line and there's just thousands of people, probably in that 2/10-ths of a mile there, 40 to 50,000 people just screaming and cheering you on and it's just this overwhelming feeling and then to have that celebration of life be marred by an act like this to me it is just a horrible thing," said Branch.
Branch plans to address his congregation about the Boston incident this week.
He said he will continue to race, locally for now.
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