Marathon Survivor Also Survived Va. Tech Massacre

Kelly Willard says experiences taught her 'It can happen anywhere'

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 24, 2013 12:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – Kelly Willard was a student at Virginia Tech during the 2007 massacre, and found herself on lockdown for 12 hours just two buildings away from the shooter. Six years later, she ran the Boston Marathon for the first time, and was two blocks away when the bombs went off last Monday. After the mass shooting, "You think that nothing like that will ever happen again," Willard tells KAIT-8. "Once you go through something like the massacre, and then the thing at Boston, I definitely had flashbacks of Virginia Tech."

Willard, who is from Ohio, said that her husband was nearby during both incidents, and she had a hard time reaching him. "You feel very blessed at the end to come through it OK, but it is very scary when it's happening," she says, adding that she was left with the question, "Why did I get out OK and other people didn't?" She also learned, she says, that attacks "can happen anywhere. A small town like Blacksburg, Virginia, and then a big city like Boston. You just have to keep on living and do what you love to do."

A flag sits on a barricade on Boylston Street near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Boston.
A flag sits on a barricade on Boylston Street near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Boston.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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