SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 20, 2013

Jean DePlacido column: Beverly's Tabutt recalls Marathon experience

Jean DePlacido
The Salem News

---- — 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.

Tabbut was anxious to find his wife Maureen and make sure she hadn’t been injured, but that turned out to be an exhausting endeavor. The family gathering area was organized by letters of the alphabet so he headed for the T section only to find out his wife was not there. He recalled her saying if they didn’t meet up there the emergency location would be the Green Line Boylston subway stop.

“Maureen was on the corner of Clarendon and St. James Avenue when the first explosion went off,” said Tabbut. “She thought at first it was something to do with a construction crew nearby. To her surprise and horror she found out shortly afterward about the blasts.” Maureen was heading to the finish line area when the attack took place, and she was around the corner from the first explosion.

“She offered support to a few families and headed to the family meeting area. Later she decided to look for me at the Boston Common. My prayers were answered when I spotted her waiting patiently at Boylston. We gave each other a warm hug, and made our way out of the city to go home. We are still trying to come to terms with what happened. How could someone do this? Evil does exist in our world. We still believe that good will prevail in the long term and must not give in to terror.”

Tabbut and fellow marathoner Amber Woolfenden were the lucky winners of two entries to the Boston Marathon that Wicked Running Club of Salem was awarded for doing a fantastic job every year at Mile 17 Power Gel stop. Their names were randomly picked out of a hat. Unfortunately, Woolfenden’s husband was one of the injured as he waited to cheer her on at the finish line.

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Eleanor Lustig has no idea she was even close to recording her 100th career goal for the Waring School lacrosse team. The junior captain from Wenham came into the game against Gann Academy needing five to reach that coveted mark, and after reaching it coach Ambrose Devaney subbed for her. Waring won the game, 15-2.

“It was really cool,” said Lustig, who plays club lacrosse for Synergy in the summer. “I found out later coach had asked one of my friends to bring a camera to the game. I never kept track of any of my goals so it was a big surprise.”

Lustig works well with senior captain Emily Friend, who will play at William Smith next year. The two midfielders know each other’s every move.

“Eleanor does it all for the team,” said Devaney. “I believe she is the school’s first 100 goal scorer. Lacrosse is such a short season with only 11 or 12 games each year it is hard to do. She started when she was in the eighth grade, and she gets very involved in every aspect of the game. I think Eleanor scored her five on only six shots.”

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Jean DePlacido is a longtime correspondent for The Salem News. Contact her at JMDeplacido@aol.com.