Boston tragedy hits locally - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Boston tragedy hits locally

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The Boston Marathon attracts runners throughout the world and also competitors from right here in our area.

Monday, we spoke to several of these runners by telephone.

Although they are safe, they were shaken by the explosions that happened just blocks away from them.

"We didn't really see anything. We felt the two explosions. I mean they were within seconds of each other and it's one of those things where you feel something and you don't have any idea what it's from, but once we saw people running outside we knew something had happened," explains Mike Gerber, marathon participant from Atlanta.

Gerber and his friend Roger Hagues of Columbus had finished the race a hour before the first explosion and were eating at a nearby restaurant.

Both men are extremely thankful they were not hurt, and for the safety of their friends.

"At any big event something like this can happen, so it's upsetting definitely. It makes you worry about what people are thinking and what they are capable of," says Hagues.

Because events like this are common in a college town like Auburn, the Police Department is trained to handle situations like what occurred Monday in Boston. 

Authorities say that even though their plans are kept confidential for obvious reasons, the level of training for Auburn is the same for most cities across the nation.

"Throughout the year we do a lot of training both with local, state and federal agencies. We're heavily involved in what they call NIMS or the National Incident Management System, for planning and reacting to major crisis," explains Captain Tom Stofer of the Auburn Police Division.

The events on Monday hit close to home for area runners.

The Big Dog Running Company of Columbus sponsored a run in honor of the victims and families affected by this tragedy.

"One of our local runners had the great idea to get together as a running community and do a moment of silence and a group run for the events in support of the folks effected this afternoon at the Boston marathon for their families. We just wanted to come together since it feels like a hopeless feeling not being able anything. With this run we can together and show our support," explains Jennifer Williams of Big Dog Running Company.

Tuesday at 6 p.m., local runners are meeting at the Big Dog Running Company in Auburn to honor the victims of the Boston tragedy.

Rather than a minute of silence, there will be a mile of silence for those who were impacted.

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