This Facebook photo shows local runner Roy Coley, center, being greeted by his friends from the Southernmost Runners Club at the Key West Airport. Coley finished the Boston Marathon 50 minutes before the bombs went off.

Key West runner Roy Coley had already finished the Boston Marathon and was two blocks away when two blasts rocked the finish line.

“The surreal part for me was that my daughter, Amy, had been standing in front of the Lennox Hotel where one of the bombs went off. That’s where she was,” said Coley, speaking on his cell phone at the Boston airport on his way back to Key West. “We were going to go back and sit in the bleachers but I was tired and shaky after the race and so we were headed back to our hotel when it happened.”

Coley’s friend, Key West runner Sarah Williams was not injured either. He said they exchanged texts later that evening and she offered him a ride and place to stay because buildings in a one-block radius of the bombs were evacuated.

“My daughter and I decided to stay at our room in the Marriott Copley Place, two blocks away from the finish line. We felt safe but we couldn’t come and go; we had to stay inside,” Copley said.

Coley, a native of Alabama, has lived in Key West for eight years and he works for the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority. He said the race, which he finished in 3 hours and 11 minutes, was perfect up until that point.

“People were enjoying life one minute and the next they were replaced by military and armored vehicles,” he said. “From the hotel’s catwalk [bridge] I looked down and saw Homeland Security, armored vehicles, SWAT teams and the national guard. That’s a scene you shouldn’t see in an American community.”

The bombs that exploded on Monday, April 15, killed three people and injured 183. The bomber or bombers have not been identified, nor has it been determined if the terrorism was foreign or domestic.

One other runner from Islamorada, Carl Douglas, was also registered to run the race but attempts to contact him at presstime were unsuccessful.


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