WATERVILLE — Paul Josephson, of Waterville, considers himself lucky that a calf injury forced him to drop out of the Boston Marathon around mile four on Monday.

“I sense I would have finished around the time the explosions happened,” said the 58-year-old professor of history at Colby College.

In the aftermath of Monday’s events, Josephson said he has been inundated with emails and text messages from friends around the world asking if he is OK.

“It is a dreadful thing and there are so many people concerned. The impact is far and wide,” he said.

According to the race organizer, the Boston Athletic Association, Josephson was one of 202 Maine residents registered for the Boston Marathon, where two explosions that are now under investigation by police occurred Monday. He is also among area runners who said that while this year’s marathon was overshadowed by tragedy, they hope the spirit of the race can be restored next year.

Safety for runners and spectators at large races such as Boston’s, where about 23,000 runners participated and hundreds of thousands of others came to watch, has come under scrutiny in the hours since the explosions. Portland’s Maine Marathon is no exception.


“It will definitely be a topic of discussion. It’s too early to tell but we will need to discuss if and what measures can be put in place,” said Bob Aube, co-director of the Maine Marathon in Portland. The race is scheduled for Oct. 6.

Aube said it can be difficult to provide safety at road races because of the large area they cover and the large crowds they draw. The Maine Marathon, held in conjunction with a half-marathon and relay race, draws about 3,000 people each year, said Aube.

“It’s a much smaller scale. Boston has a lot of resources that they put into security and safety personnel,” he said.

Police with bomb-sniffing dogs can be part of security measures at larger races, but even then there is no guarantee of safety.

“Streets are always closed off, but still the area around the roads is always open to spectators,” he said.

Another runner, Arne Koch, of Waterville, said he agreed that organizers of the marathon seemed to have every safety precaution in place.


“The finish line is down to a science. They have a system in place to filter finishers through quickly and efficiently,” he said. Koch, who finished in about three hours, said he was able to take a shuttle provided by the marathon back to his car and was safely at the home of friends outside Boston when he found out about the explosions.

On Tuesday many people were filled with questions and doubts about the explosions and what could be done to better ensure the safety of athletes and spectators.

Viselli, whose time qualified him for next year’s race, said he plans to run but may suggest that his family, who watched in a busy area near the 25-mile mark in Kenmore Square, either not come to watch, or watch from an area that is less crowded. Theoretically, they would be less of a target for violent acts like those that marred this year’s race, he said.

“It’s definitely scary but I think the race organizers did the best they could in dealing with it,” said Josephson. Had he finished the race, Monday’s marathon would have been Josephson’s 13th Boston Marathon.

If he qualifies, he said, he plans to run the race again next year. He said that when he is healthy he will continue to run, although not with the same peace of mind that he used to.

“Running is something I do every day, like brushing my teeth or taking a shower,” he said. “But at least for now I won’t be able to do it with a smile. I don’t think runners can feel anything but shock and dismay right now.”


For Koch, who was a first-time qualifier and spent two years training for the race, the drive back to Waterville on Monday night was filled with the same angst. For the first half-hour he didn’t speak with the friend he was driving with.

“It took awhile to figure out how I felt. It was like survivor’s guilt. We were there and there were so many others that were not as fortunate,” he said.

Staff writer Keith Edwards contributed to this report.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
[email protected]

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