Iowan runners recount scene at the Boston Marathon

Apr 15, 2013

158 Iowans were registered to run in Monday’s Boston Marathon, where two explosions killed three and injured more than 170 others.

Jeanine Penticoff of Cedar Rapids was about a half mile away from the finish line when officials stopped the race.

“There were a lot of family members that were waiting at the finish line, that were associated with the runners we were running alongside, so there was just a lot of worry and concern,” Penticoff said.  

Penticoff says it took more than an hour for her and her husband to find each other, as cell phone coverage was limited and roads had been closed off. Penticoff is a director for Alliant Energy, she says today was her first time being able to compete in the marathon.

“You just never know what’s going to happen… because obviously these things can happen at any time, at any place,” she said.

Three brothers from Cedar Falls had begun to leave the finish line area about ten minutes before they heard the explosions.

"We didn't think anything of it until we got back into cell phone service, and everyone's phones started to go off," said Joey Sevcik. "That's when we realized what exactly it was."

"There was also, at that time, all of a sudden, ambulances and fire trucks flying every which way down, in the middle of Boston."

This was Joey's sixth time running the Boston Marathon.

"I've never felt unsafe at all, there was no reason to feel unsafe today," he said.

"It's such a crowded area, such a big finish line, thousands upon thousands of people cheering down the finishing streak... I'm still kind of shocked."

Joey, Daniel, and David Sevcik are members of the Iowa State Running Club.

Des Moines attorney Doug Gross got a phone call from his wife shortly after the bomb blast, saying his family was O.K. Eileen Gross and their son Eric were standing near the finish line, watching for their daughter, Molly.

"I think Molly missed it by about 10 minutes... they heard it go off, they thought it was something big dropping out of a building. They said it was mass confusion. Thank god they're safe," Doug Gross said.

Gross says his family had to stay on lockdown in a law firm building.

"They were locked down there for about an hour-and-a-half to two hours, until they were free to go back to their hotel," Gross said. 

Molly Gross ran as part of a group running to raise money for "Best Buddies," an organization that helps people with disabilities.