Finsbury Park runner caught up in Boston Marathon bombings completes London Marathon in defiance
PUBLISHED: 17:08 22 April 2013 | UPDATED: 17:08 22 April 2013
A Finsbury Park runner flew in the face of terrorist attempts to murder her and her compatriots in Boston by running the London Marathon just days later in a glorious display of defiance.
Elaine Battson, of Southgate Road, Islington, became one of 16 people to run both races despite crossing the line of the Boston Marathon just minutes before a deadly bomb exploded.
Determined to remember those who died Miss Battson, a director at the Institute for Learning in Old Street, joined thousands in London at the weekend after flying back from the US just three days before.
Speaking at the start line on Sunday, she told how she felt “very lucky” to be alive, but had been determined not to let the bombings stop her from competing in her eighth London Marathon.
She said: “It never crossed my mind to not run. That’s not what we should do. We can’t let those kind of things stop us doing what we want to do.
“I feel shocked in the way that everybody feels shocked and I don’t think we can feel anything but that. But we can’t allow those sorts of things to stop us.
“I think it’s important to show these people they can’t get us down. It’s like a show of support for the people in Boston.
“I just think these sorts of factions are not going to stop the majority of people. We could think about what happened in 2005 in London but we just can’t live our lives like that.”
Miss Battson told how she had crossed the line in Boston just 15 minutes before bombs planted by terrorist brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev exploded.
She had already started to walk away from the site of the explosion to collect her bag when the bomb went off.
She added: “I had finished the race and was standing in the bag queue to get my bag and heard the bang and saw the smoke. Then I heard the second bang.
“It sounded like a bomb but you don’t ever think you’re going to hear a real-life bomb.
“The second one sounded smaller. You think maybe that’s part of the event. You’re not thinking the horrible stuff. You’re trying to not think about it.
“It wasn’t until I was halfway down the road that something wasn’t quite right. There were a lot of people about and they started taping off areas.
“Then there were hundreds of people and that’s when it started. It was very chaotic.
“I feel very lucky to be alive but I haven’t explored these feelings because I’m not sure I want to go there.”
Miss Battson, who finished the London race in 3hr 56m, also paid tribute to the people of Boston after describing how men and woman began running towards the site of the explosion to help those who were injured.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the orange box below for details.