Pittsburgher Karen Harr finished the Boston Marathon Monday well before the explosions that killed three and injured more than 170 people.
She could have been back at the hospitality suite in the hotel where she was staying, but a decision to head back to the medical tent to get a dose of asthma medicine put her just yards away from the blast.
Harr wasn't hurt, but she said the experience will not prompt her to hang up her running shoes.
“I know it’s cliché, but now that I’ve had the opportunity to come to this conclusion myself that life either goes on or it doesn’t," she said. "You can choose to stay home or you can live your life. So am I going to do another marathon? You bet!”
After the blasts, police had to deal with hundreds of bags holding the personal items of runners that had not yet finished. It was feared at one time that they might hold additional explosives.
“I’ve had a passing thought before like ‘Wow, that’s a lot of yellow bags,’” said Harr, who tried to assess the risk of so many unknown items in one place. “Do I want to live in a world that is any different where they are going to screen us to go to marathons and go through metal detectors? No I don’t.”
Harr is not alone.
Patrice Matamoros, executive director of the Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, said several runners have already told her they will participate in the Pittsburgh race May 5. In fact, some have told here that they have an even bigger desire to run because they feel they will “be running for Boston.”
Harr is training with 219 other local runners for the Pittsburgh race, and she hopes they will not be deterred.
“I would like to see people to continue going to marathons..." she said. "I’m either going to (die) many, many years from now, or I’m going to be next to the wrong trash can that has a bomb in it… I’m not going to be afraid."
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Karen Harr's name. The story has been updated.