The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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April 15, 2013

Mankato group safe at Boston Marathon

BOSTON — Chaun Cox only had about an hour to enjoy the accomplishment of completing the Boston Marathon when he heard the blasts.

“You’re just worried about whoever’s hurt,” Cox said in a phone interview with The Free Press on Monday afternoon. “The marathon doesn’t matter.”

All known Mankato-area runners were safe after explosions rocked the finish line of the Boston Marathon, according to Cox and a group of runners that included runners Josh Henning of Elysian and Cindra Kamphoff of Mankato. Other area runners were confirmed OK through social media updates.

Mike Thomas of Mankato was enjoying a post-race beer with his wife, Lori, in a second-floor restaurant about 300 yards away from the explosions. After the second explosion, the restaurant became a scene of chaos as patrons fled, breaking their glasses and dumping food on the ground.

Thomas had finished the race about 50 minutes before the blasts, and spent about 20 minutes in the recovery area. He passed the site of the explosions, on the other side of the street, about 15 minutes before the bombs went off.

Eventually, Thomas and his wife made the mile or so walk to their hotel, where they planned to stay Monday evening. His plan was to take in a Celtics game Tuesday, but he wasn’t sure if the game would take place.

Like Cox, Thomas soon realized his own 3-hour-15-minute finish was irrelevant to the story of the day.

“The first thing I did was take my medal off and put it away,” he said.

Cox, a North Mankato doctor, had run the race in 3 hours, 4 minutes, 21 seconds. After the explosions, he went back into doctor mode to see if help was needed at the finish line. He was told there was plenty of doctors and emergency workers and to return to his hotel.

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