Tucson runners in Boston Marathon watch a joyful event turn deadly

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Video by kgun9.com

Tucson runners in Boston Marathon watch a joyful event turn deadly

CREATED Apr 15, 2013

Reporter: Craig Smith

BOSTON (KGUN9-TV) - Almost 50 runners from Southern Arizona were in today's Boston Marathon. 

Most have been accounted for. 

The Boston Marathon dates back 116 years.  For runners, the history, and the crowds of this world famous race make being in it a glorious moment.  But Monday, someone worked to steal that glory and turn it to heartache and death.

Joe Stapleton was four-tenths of a mile from crossing the finish line when the bombs blew. He was running with a group from John Hancock raising money for charity. He says the charity runners attract the most spectators and the bombs seemed to be timed to kill when the crowd was the biggest.

"Their families are so excited to see them and it's such an accomplishment in their lives.  Now some of those people are gone and some are really injured."
Joe Stapleton lives in California now but he's a U of A grad who grew up in Tucson.  His dad Bill knew Joe was running but when the bombs blew and the cell phones jammed he couldn't find out if Joe was OK.

"I couldn't get a hold of him and finally, I got a hold of my daughter in San Diego and she said, Dad, I just got off the phone with him, he's OK and so is his buddy that he's running with."
Like Joe Stapleton, Charlie Ware remembers the crowds, and the exhilaration of the moment, that turned to such grief.

"It's such a joy when you're crossing that line too because there's thousands and thousands of people all cheering for you and it's a joy when you're coming in that last mile.  It's shoulder to shoulder on all the streets of people cheering you on."
Tucson runner Keith Schlottman was far enough away to not feel or see the blast first hand. Seeing it on TV was bad enough.

"I did watch it for a few minutes, they were cycling it through and, to be honest it made me very emotional I had to leave and go to my room and just try to work through that because it looks pretty horrible, especially because I love marathon so much...it's difficult to see something happening in the sport I love so much."
But now he'll be one of thousands working to forget what happened in Boston.
The runners we talked to are grateful for all the friends in Tucson and elsewhere who were so concerned about their safety.
Joe Stapleton, for instance could look at his phone and see with texts, emails and calls people tried to reach him more than 240 times.