Families of area runners report they have been in contact with loved ones in blasts’ aftermath
WILLMAR — Local runners are reportedly safe after running Monday in the Boston marathon, where explosions killed at three people and injured more than 130 others.
According to a website that lists the finish times of the runners, all local participants finished at least 30 minutes prior to the explosions near the marathon’s finish line.
Personal messages trickled back slowly from Boston in brief emails, texts and on social media sites that local participants were not injured.
Cell phone service was cut off in Boston shortly after the explosions as a safety precaution, which stalled direct communications.
Kandiyohi County officials confirmed that Zoning Administrator Gary Geer, who lives in rural Brooten, had finished the race before the explosions occurred.
An email from one of Geer’s co-workers said Geer was away from the finish line area when the blast occurred.
Geer’s wife, Melissa, and their six children are with Geer in Boston. They are also fine.
Steven Meier, pastor at Eagle Lake Lutheran Church near Willmar, also finished the race before the deadly blasts.
A member of the congregation told the West Central Tribune on Monday they had heard from Meier and he was not injured.
Brooke Baeth of Spicer also finished the race and was safe in her hotel room when the explosions occurred, according to her mother-in-law, Linda Baeth of Spicer.
Brooke Baeth is a speech pathologist at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. He husband, Kelly, is with her in Boston, according to family.
Tom Taunton, of rural New London, also cleared the finish line before the explosions. A friend of the family said that a posting on Facebook by Taunton’s wife, Jane, indicated the couple was safe and asked for prayers for those were killed and injured.
According to a post on Facebook, Sheila Rohne of Willmar was in Boston to cheer on Meier as well as her daughter-in-law, Bri Rohne, who is originally from New London, and also ran in the race.
Sheila Rohne’s initial post indicates she and some of her family members were stuck in downtown Boston. They were apparently concerned about using the subway and eventually hitched a ride out of the city center.
“Praise God, a stranger agreed to give us a ride, we are finally able to leave downtown!” Rohne wrote on Facebook.
Two Morris-area runners, Jennifer Lund and Austin Schieler, were also unharmed in the incident.
Lisa Harris of Starbuck was also reportedly safe, according to an email sent to the West Central Tribune. She was about two blocks from the explosion when it occurred, the email stated.
The Tribune also learned via email that David Lindgren, who is originally from Clara City, was diverted at the 25.6-mile mark in the marathon. He is reportedly fine.