Ex-Gator says explosions put 'things in perspective'

Published: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 5:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 5:51 p.m.

A day after the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon, Jeremy Criscione was back in his home state of Florida, timing a high school track meet.

The former Florida cross-country standout who grew up in Interlachen was one of the fortunate ones. An elite distance runner, Criscione finished 28th in the event in 2:21:45, about an hour and a half before the two explosions at the finish line.

"Definitely, it puts things into perspective," Criscione said. "Never take things for granted, always cherish every moment you have. You had people there just watching the race that were affected. It was just terrible."

Criscione stayed at a hotel just 200 yards from Copley Square. But at the time of the explosions, he was on the subway on the way to Logan Airport to catch an afternoon flight. He first heard about the news of the bombings on the public address system of a bus that took passengers from a subway stop to the airport.

There were some anxious moments, though, because Criscione was separated from his wife, Bessie, and 14-month-old son, Damian. Both went back to a hotel farther from the finish line and returned a rental car at the airport. But the three reunited at Logan Airport, all safe.

"We called everybody that we knew, and they were OK," Criscione said.

It was Criscione's first Boston Marathon and just his second marathon overall (his first was the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials). The 25-year-old's goal was to run a personal best 2:20:57.

"I felt good at the halfway point, but the second half, with the hills, maybe I didn't know what to expect," Criscione said. "It wasn't a completely horrible time. I'm still kind of new to running marathons."

Of course, Criscione's first-ever Boston Marathon will wind end up being memorable for more tragic reasons.

"I think it's going to deter some people (from competing) for a little while, but I think it will get back," Criscione said. "Security will try to keep things under closer watch. It's kind of unfortunate because no one would expect for it to happen at a sporting event like that. It really takes people to be a part of it."

Contact Kevin Brockway at 374-5054 or brockwk@gvillesun.com. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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