Marathon runner Christy DeFilippis missed the twin bomb explosions that killed three and injured more than 170 others in Boston Monday by one block. The New Jersey schoolteacher had crossed the finish line about 40 minutes earlier and was basking in her achievement with her husband and other runners when the blasts rocked the city.
Like many, DeFilippis said at first she thought the explosions were accidental -- perhaps a transformer blew -- until police told her and others to run, that they believed bombs had exploded.
DeFilippis said she and other runners first reacted with shock and disbelief. Then they were silent. But no one panicked. She returned to her hotel with her husband and thought about leaving Boston immediately, then decided to stay because of reports of other bombs, although those eventually proved unfounded.
"We were a little unnerved as to if this was going to be a chain reaction," said DeFilippis, a Manalapan teacher from Tinton Falls.
She described an eerie night in Boston with quiet streets and few places to eat as armed guards patrolled downtown.
When she got home Tuesday afternoon, she said she gave her two children, ages 9 and 5, extra big hugs.
DeFilippis, who has been running for 30 years, said she had originally planned for Boston to be her last marathon.
"In the middle of this I was thinking I could never do this again, never, never, never," she said.
But now, her husband, Rob, who missed running with her because of an injury, is talking about organizing a group out of his running store to race in Boston next year.
"I don't want to not run just because I'm afraid," DeFilippis said. "I'll probably end up there."