Boston marathon bombing: 10 years later, participants reflect on 'surreal' experience

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Monday, April 17, 2023
How the Boston marathon bombing prompted big changes for large events
The Boston marathon bombing in 2013 was a surreal experience for participants and spectators alike. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentence to death for it.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A marathon is an extreme test of physical and emotional strength. Runners complete 26.2 miles and the finish is a celebration of overcoming challenges to get there. But the Boston marathon bombing near the finish line in 2013 turned joy into tragedy.

Mark Boozell of Elmhurst was nearing the finish when the first of two bombs went off.

"We saw the first responders headed that direction, so we stopped and started to jog the other direction and the second bomb went off," he recalled.

The bombing and ensuing manhunt for the bombers claimed five lives and injured some 300 more. At a solemn ceremony over the weekend, victims and first responders were among the attendees dedicating a commemorative finish line in Boston.

"We did not stop at the pain. We turned that pain into something that moves us forward and makes us better," said U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

The Boston bombing led to changes in security at large public events around the world, including the Chicago marathon, with increased police presences and less freedom of movement for fans and participants.

"I think it's made all of us stronger, the city of Boston, made the Boston marathon stronger," said Carey Pinkowski of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Boozell has run 16 marathons, but none like 2013 in Boston.

"It was surreal," he said. "It was an experience I'll never forget."

One of the two men believed to be responsible for the bombings was killed in a shootout with police. The other, Dzhokar Tsarnaev, remains in prison awaiting the death penalty.