“Is this part of a ceremony?” – Last person to officially finish Boston Marathon recalls the moments before first explosion

Stacy Shaw
Stacy Shaw

Runner’s World has a neat story about the last person to finish the Boston Marathon.

Stacy Shaw, a fifth-grade teacher and mother of four from Nebraska, crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon last week just as the first of two explosions went off.

Hobbled by ankle tendonitis, Shaw, 47, finished with a net time of 4 hours, 44 minutes and 14 seconds – way off her marathon PR of 3:03. She was the 17,580th – and last – runner to cross the finish line before authorities closed the course because of the explosions near the finish line. Nearly 5,000 other runners behind Shaw were not allowed to complete the race.

“I hadn’t even gotten to the water yet,” she says. “We heard this sound like a cannon. And the first thing that went through my head was, ‘Is this part of a ceremony?’ Then I turned around and saw the smoke. I think we all in our heads thought it was some sort of an accident.”

Shaw told Runner’s World that the volunteers made sure she got a medal.

“I forgot about it, and they were practically shoving them in our faces,” she says. “I think most of us would have just kept going on without them.”