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A race she’ll never forget

By Staff | Apr 21, 2013

Suzie Olsen of Blue Earth is no slouch when it comes to running in marathons.

She’s pretty darn fast.

On Monday, that speed may have saved her from any serious injury when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon she was running in.

“I crossed the finish line about 45 or 50 minutes before the blasts,” she said by phone from Boston on Tuesday.

It was her first time running the Boston Marathon, although she has competed in five others and participated in three Ironman competitions, which all include a full 26.2 mile marathon run at the end.

“I came in with a time of 3:23 (three hours, 23 minutes) which was a personal record for me,” she says. “Two minutes better than any of my other times.”

After she crossed the finish line she met up with her “support group” Teresa Stevermer of Easton and Stevermer’s sister-in-law, Colleen Yockovich of South Dakota.

“I caught up with them at the family pickup area, about a block away from the finish line,” Olsen says. “After a while, we decided to head out, so we were walking about two blocks from the finish line when we heard the explosions.”

Olsen says she knew immediately that it was something very bad, the way the explosions went off and shook the whole area.

“There was suddenly security people running everywhere, and other people running the other way,” she says. “It was absolute chaos.”

Olsen and her friends decided to get out of there fast, and were able to hail a taxi cab and return to their hotel, about three miles away from the bombing site.

“We felt fairly safe there, although really we didn’t know what was going on,” she says. “We watched it all on TV, just like everyone else in the world.”

Olsen and her friends decided they were lucky to have avoided being near the actual explosions.

“Teresa and Colleen were cheering for me at the 16-mile marker and then went to the 25-mile marker,” Olsen says. “They tried to get near the finish line to watch me cross it, but the crowd was too big and they couldn’t. So they waited for me at the family meeting area, a block away.”

If they had gotten into the finish line area, they may have stayed there and would have been close to the bomb sites. And they don’t want to think what would have happened then.

Olsen is also glad that her husband and four kids had stayed home.

“My kids always like to hang out near the finish line,” she says. “And they always like to stay there to see the runners come across. I am very thankful they are all home safe.”

Her husband, David, is also an avid marathon runner and Ironman competitor.

“Dave stayed home with the kids this weekend,” Olsen says. “He had gone to Texas the weekend before and been in a Half Iron Man competition. This was my weekend to be gone.”

She was scheduled to fly home on Wednesday, and was fairly sure there wouldn’t be any issue with the travel plans.

However, from their hotel room the three could see the airport and there was plenty of activity there on Tuesday morning.

“They had a ‘security incident’ at the airport this morning,” she said in the telephone interview. “They detained a plane and took all the luggage off it. They apparently took a couple of guys in for questioning.”

Olsen hopes her trip home will be uneventful.

This was her first time running in the Boston Marathon.

“It is certainly a memorable one, for some bad reasons,” she says. “One I will never forget.”

Neither will the rest of the country.