Dr. Michael Rogers finished the Boston Marathon one minute and 22 seconds before the first bomb went off. (WRDW-TV)
News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, April 16, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Runners came from all over the world to run in the Boston Marathon, including some from our area. On Tuesday night, at least one of those runners was back home in Augusta.
Dr. Michael Rogers is a local orthodontist who crossed the finish line just one minute before the first bomb went off.
"All of a sudden this boom goes off and all of the festivities and all just stopped. I mean, it was total silence," described his wife, Beth, who was in the stands just a block away from the bombs.
"Then the second one went off and everyone just kind of stood there, you know, like what's going on, what do we do? Do we run, do we go back to help or what do we do?" Dr. Rogers said.
Dr. Rogers had just completed his seventh Boston Marathon when he heard the booms.
"I thought, 'This really can't be a bomb,'" he said. "And yet, it was such a huge explosion with a big cloud and it shook the ground."
"This big mound of smoke just billowed up above the buildings," Mrs. Rogers said.
The grandfather of nine crossed the finish line at four hours and eight minutes, just one minute and 22 seconds before bomb number one.
"That was kind of an unreal feeling, that one minute or so behind that and I would've been right in the middle of all of that," Dr. Rogers said.
He says at that moment no one really knew what was going on.
"You flash back to September 11th and you think about that tragedy," he said. "Did it destroy the buildings? And not only that, but we were worried about a dirty bomb, chemicals in the atmosphere."
At that point, Dr. Rogers had no idea where his wife was.
"That was a panicky feeling because I thought she might have gone down to the finish line to watch me finish and she could be hurt," he explained.
Luckily, just minutes later, they were able to get in touch by text deciding to meet back at the hotel.
"When she finally saw me coming to the hotel, she gave me a big hug and we reunited. It was very touching," he said.
Dr. Rogers says this year's attack won't stop him from running in Boston again.
"I'm the type that doesn't wanna let something like this ruin my life or stop me from doing something I want to do because we have to live our lives," he said.
The Rogers said in the airport Tuesday morning there was a man asking everyone in line if they heard anything, saw anything or took any pictures.
He says he is just extremely thankful that he and his wife made it home safely.