|Published:||Apr 16, 2013 6:15 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Apr 16, 2013 7:31 PM EDT|
LEE COUNTY, Fla. - One of the runners in the Boston Marathon is a supervisor at Edison State College. Richard Olitsky was about half a mile away from the finish line when the bombs exploded.
Richard has been running marathons, including the Boston Marathon, for decades. His wife Dee is his cheerleader. But for some reason, Richard wasn't running at his normal pace this time. If he had been, the couple says, it would have put him at the finish line the moment of the explosions.
"All of a sudden everybody stopped running. I had no idea what was going on. The first thought I had was that somebody was down," he said.
Richard Olitsky was about half a mile from the finish line when he hit a wall of people. Runners were just standing in the road: something he says that's never happened at a marathon.
From where he was, he says, no one could see anything, and there was confusion.
"Everybody was kind of frantic because they wanted to let other people know they were ok," he said. He didn't have his phone, and borrowed someone else's to send this text to his wife Dee that says "I'm okay - Richard"
Dee, who was waiting at the 24 mile marker, thought her husband fell as a result of the race. "There was no clue that anything had happened until I got that text from Richard saying 'I'm ok - Richard.' And I didn't know what it meant," she said.
Moments later, she recieved an urgent text from her son saying "Mom Call!" "I called him, and he told me there was a bomb in the city," she said.
Richard was determined to make his mark in Boston. It's something he's already conquered, three times before.
But he wasn't running his usual pace that day. If he was, he says, he would have been at the finish line at the moment of the explosions. "I had prepared, it just wasn't my day. Fortunately," he said.
Richard also says when all the runners were standing a half a mile from the finish line, good samaritans came out and offered trash bags and coats to anyone who was cold.
After all of that, Richard was back at work Tuesday. He's also not letting any of this slow him down, and is going to start running again very soon.