A community project hosted at Northeastern University

Escape down the Lenox Hotel alley

Current Location



Myself and my boyfriend had just arrived in Boston from Ireland a week before the marathon. We were on a four month internship with the State House and decided to head to the marathon on our day off. We were very slowly making our way to the finish line, and were about to turn down the alley way at the Lenox Hotel to try loop around and get closer.

Just before the first bomb went off I bumped into a lady with a buggy (stroller), I turned and excused myself and she looked at me in disgust and complained that I had crushed a sunflower that was on top of her buggy. I remember thinking to myself "big deal! Worse things happen!" As I looked at this lady in bewilderment the first bomb went off ahead of us. I froze on the spot staring ahead at the white smoke billowing towards us. There seemed to me some confusion about what happened, runners were cheering obviously believing itbwas a cannon or something, my boyfriend was trying to move me while he shouted "bomb! That was a bomb! We have to move!"

Time stopped still for me while I watched a runner in a burger suit make his way towards the finish line. When the second bomb went off there was no doubt in my mind it was a bomb but I was still frozen in my spot. My boyfriend grabbed me and rushed me down the alley. We tried to hide in a doorway but the other people in there literally pushed us back out and said "No!! Get out there's no room here!" We then crouched down on the floor, completely helpless. It was a horrible pitiful feeling hiding behind a dumpster. I remember looking up at the Prudential Tower and imagining the absolute terror they must be witnessig from the top floors and the panic that they could be next. I kept thinking about the people who were hurt and trying to imagine how many poor souls lost their lives. My boyfriend was worried another bomb would go off in a place people would run to, almost as if were going to be funneled into another danger zone.

I have no recollection of leaving the alley, I just remember running and standing outside the Westin in the middle of the road with my hand over my mouth constantly picturing dead bodies at the finish line. My boyfriend used my phone to viber my sister a message saying "bombs just went off at the marathon trying to get away" then our signal was cut off so we couldn't send another message. Everything was in slow motion for me. I felt detatched from my body while I watched a man drop his phone and several people help him. We walked as fast as we could towards Kenmore/ Fenway and were able to use wifi outside of a cafe to contact our families in Ireland. They had heard the news almost straight away and were extremely worried after our message. It was there we saw a family get reunited with their missing daughter. It was such an emotional and beautiful sight I still tear up thinking about it.

I'll never forget the terror I felt in that alleyway and how grateful I was for my boyfriend's protection. At one point he looked at me and said "if we die, we die together, I love you, now let's run!" I clung onto his hand like my life depended on it.

It took me a long term to get over the guilt of being unharmed while others were killed or seriously injured. That was the worst part. I still think about it most days, I don't think I'll ever forget the fear.

Share this item on...