'It's good to be here': Boston veterans cross London finish line...and they're still smiling


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The Independent Online

In the goodie bag given to finishers of the Boston Marathon on Monday was a yellow running jersey with blue writing up the sleeve, saying "Boston Marathon 2013."

Paul Arlt, a 56 year old man from New Jersey, was wearing his as he stood, exhausted after the finish line on the Mall at the end of his 30th marathon, and his second in a sadly unforgettable week.

"I got over the finish line about half an hour before the bombs went off," he said. "My wife, thankfully had already left the area. My friend, who ran today too, he was right there, but he was unhurt.

"I ran in the centre of the road today. Those who were injured on Monday had all been much closer to the sidewalks. You find yourself thinking, it's as if you're driving in your car, and you go past a car wreck. You think well maybe if I'd driven a little faster, if I'd left the house a little earlier, that could have been me. I felt very lucky to be here today. But Monday was my 17th consecutive Boston Marathon, and I'll be back for number 18."

Mike Asche, a 36-year-old tax adviser Hannover in Germany, ran in his yellow Boston jersey too.

"It was amazing, at the start," he said. "You could have heard a needle dropped on the floor. With runners, a lot of the time their watches beep. I didn't hear anyone beeping.

"In Boston, I was around three or four kilometres away from the finish when the explosion happened. But I was staying in a hotel not far from the finish line. I saw police walking around with machine guns, wearing helmets for the rest of the day. And I came straight from there to here.

"It's hard work, but the crowds screaming, they put energy in you. I'm always smiling. That's why I wore my Boston marathon shirt.

"The terrorists in Boston, they want a platform. We won't give them a platform. No one was frightened, running today. We were in a good mood. It's good to be here. You can't think about what might have happened. You life is too short to think about that, and not do what you want to do.