, Salem, MA


April 20, 2013

Jean DePlacido column: Beverly's Tabutt recalls Marathon experience

Rich Tabbut never thought he’d be happy about a pulling a muscle during the Boston Marathon, but it was that injury which prevented him from being at the finish line around the time the bomb went off. Tabbut, a 54-year old Beverly resident, was running his third Boston Marathon in honor of his mother Hilda Thornhill Tabbut to raise money for the Sturge-Weber Fund.

The Wicked Running Club member hadn’t run Boston since 1996 and set his goal to finish under four hours. However, his leg hurt so much that he had to alternate running with walking between miles 23 and 24 so he was behind schedule.

“It turned out that God was watching over me,” said Tabbut, who runs several races for charity. “If I had achieved my goal I would have been on the finish line very close to the time the bombs went off.”

Instead Tabbut was part of the large group of runners who were stopped by the police at Mass Avenue, about six tenths of a mile from the finish line. At first nobody had any idea what was happening and figured the road was narrowing because of the large crowd gathered. Soon word spread about the bombs, and people were scared — not for themselves but for loved ones waiting at the finish line to cheer for them.

“There are no words sufficient to describe how we all felt at that time with our loved ones in danger and no way to determine if they were safe,” said Tabbut. “The wonderful people of Boston offered much needed support. Runners offered words of encouragement to each other still not knowing exactly what had happened. Many of us prayed that nobody was hurt.”

Tabbut said one young woman offered runners cups of water and asked if they were okay. He was wearing a wicking singlet and became to feel very cold. As he limped down Commonwealth Avenue toward the family meeting area, a spectator handed him a trash bag to wear until he was able to put on warm clothes that were on the bus beyond the finish line.

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