Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 16, 2013

CU graduate finishes Boston Marathon just before first explosion

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BOSTON — Concord University graduate Adam Coon, 28, from Comfort, was headed into downtown Boston for a post-marathon meal when the first bomb went off at the finish line during Monday’s Boston Marathon.

Coon and his immediate family saw the initial reports on TV and decided to remain in the hotel instead of venturing out into the streets.

“At first, we didn’t know what it was,” he said. “We thought it was an electrical problem because of all the events at the race.”

He said it didn’t take long to realize it was an attack. The bombs went off around the four-hour mark of the marathon.

Coon, a teacher and cross country coach at Sherman High School, had crossed the finish line at 2:23:51, finishing in 107th place.

“It doesn’t matter now really because that’s not important,” Coon said from his hotel in Boston on Monday evening. “Where we are at, it is calm. We are eating at our hotel in Brookline, a suburb just outside of town. I haven’t been outside for about two hours.”

Coon’s hotel is about half a mile from the finish line. He said he could see the John Hancock Tower and other landmarks. Officials were telling runners and their families to stay in their hotels. If they go out into the city, they were advised to not travel in groups, he said.

With flights grounded in Boston, Coon said he isn’t sure when they will be able to leave the city. He said they will continue to watch the reports from their hotel.

“We are supposed to stay until Tuesday at noon,” he said.

A longtime runner, Coon ran for Concord from 2003-2007. This was his second Boston Marathon.

He said the attack felt personal, even though the bombs went off in the crowd. The Boston Marathon attracts thousands of runners and spectators.

“The course is point-to-point,” Coon said. “The crowds line up for 26.2 miles all the way.”

He said the attack won’t change his view of large races.

“That is what they want you to do — change your way of life,” Coon said.

— Contact Jamie Parsell at