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
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)

(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."

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Showing 3 of 11 comments
Apr 24, 2013 11:20 PM CDT
It all started with the first Greek Marathon runner- he was in a war, too- few realize he died from his wounds as he had fought in HAND-TO-HAND-COMBAT with a shield & sword the entire day, THEN he ran his marathon Not many alive today could do that, but all you will hear is the first marathon runner died after running 26 miles, NO, he died from his wounds, the 26 mile run was NOTHING compared to hand-to-hand combat w/a sword.
Apr 24, 2013 5:24 PM CDT
I'm very glad you survived both of these tragedies unharmed!
Apr 24, 2013 1:44 PM CDT
There are a lot of mean ass people from Blacksburg, Virginia to Boston, Mass. Just glad she survived both of these attacks.