The bombings at the Boston Marathon hit especially close to home for Bostonians Jim Calhoun and Shabazz Napier.
Calhoun said he has run the Boston Marathon seven times, and each of his two sons has completed it twice. Like so many, he was watching TV when the news suddenly broke Monday.
“It hit the heart when I saw that,” said Calhoun, 70, at the groundbreaking ceremony at UConn on Wednesday. “This is one of the most special days of the year for us. Christmas, Thanksgiving, everything rolled into one in Boston. Patriots day, the schools are closed, you watch the Red Sox and the Marathon. Yesterday was a devastation.
“The greatest thing we need to take out of this is making sure the people who were running toward the problem [are recognized]. The other stuff we can’t control, though I think we’ll get better at it. But the medics, the doctor who ran 26 miles then ran into the fray. So many incredible stories being told and Pat and I had a tear, because 11 times a Calhoun has crossed that finish line.”
Napier, 21, from the Roxbury section of the city, said his first instinct was to make sure his family was safe.
“It’s about 10 minutes from where I live,” he said, “and The Boston Marathon is such a great event I expected some of my family members to be there. I pray for those family members of the men and women who were there in that chaos. It’s sad. It hits so close to home.”
Donny Marshall, who was emcee, asked for a moment of silence before the groundbreaking ceremonies began at UConn on Tuesday.