Boston Marathon blasts: UAE runners recount terror

UAE residents who ran in the Boston Marathon describe scenes of carnage after two makeshift bombs explode seconds apart near the finish line.

"I immediately knew it was bombs," said Dubai resident Debbie Powell. "Within minutes we heard sirens from the police, fire and ambulances racing to the scene."
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DUBAI // Local runners say they will not be deterred from entering the Boston Marathon by the bombings in Massachusetts on Monday.
Ten UAE residents were registered to run in the marathon, although some pulled out and others did not complete the course.
Only four crossed the finish line.
British Dubai resident Debbie Powell, 42, was in the medical tent when the bombs went off.
"When I finished I was not feeling too good so I proceeded to the medical tent for assistance, which was five metres away from the finish line," said Ms Powell.
The tent was full of runners with sore muscles, she said.
Some were dehydrated and others had injuries normally suffered by endurance athletes.
"It's typical for running after a marathon," Ms Powell said.
She said the moment the first blast sounded she knew it was a bomb. Soon after she could hear sirens approaching from every direction.
"It's the unknown and not knowing when and where the next one is going to be," Ms Powell said. "You're fearing for your life and don't know what to do. Do you stay where you are? Run left or right?"
Once the injured started to pour into the medical tent she left to make room, but what she saw has been etched in her mind forever.
"I discharged myself immediately from the bed as it was apparent they needed as much space as possible," Ms Powell said.
"The scenes of these poor, innocent spectators who were standing at the finishing line to applaud their loved ones crossing the line being stretchered in, covered in blood, was something that I have only seen on the news or at the movies.
"To see people with missing limbs and blood everywhere . it was like something out of a war zone."
Another Dubai resident, Helmut Raukuttis, crossed the finish line just under four minutes before the first of the two bombs went off.
The only other UAE residents to officially finish the race were Christina Kersey, 32, from New Zealand, and Mario Illan, 33, from Spain.
Mr Illan, a senior project manager in Abu Dhabi, had been running for charity, saying on his website that he took his inspiration from his one-year-old son Hermes.
Mr Illan's wife, Rosa, and their only son were supposed to be present to cheer him on.
Ms Powell said the blasts would not deter runners from competing in future.
"Many Dubai-based runners achieved the qualifying for next year's marathon, and I know this cowardly act will not stop our runners coming to Boston to run in what is known to be the oldest marathon in existence," she said.
UAE residents who did not complete the race, according to the Boston Marathon website, were British citizens Josephine Ford, 44, David Hunt, 48, Craig Jordan, 50, Carol Pollock, 55, and John Young, 50.
Australian Austin Rotheram, 54, was also on the list.
Pasha Bakhtiar, 38, from Switzerland changed his plans a fortnight ago.
"Luckily I decided two weeks ago to compete in the Zurich Marathon instead," Mr Bakhtiar said.
The UAE ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba, has said all Emirati citizens and students in the city of Boston are safe and accounted for.
Terry Hislop, chairman of the Dubai Creek Striders, said the Boston Marathon was considered one of the top five marathons to conquer.
Overseas competitors have to post a qualifying time to enter the oldest annual marathon.
For Ms Powell, the chairwoman of Dubai's Abras A?C Running Club, the Boston race was only her third marathon.
She travelled to the US alone after her training partners pulled out with an injury.
"The organisation was second to none, from the arrival to crossing the line," Ms Powell said.