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Local runners reflect on Boston Marathon bombings

Posted January 5, 2015

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— As jury selection got underway Monday in the trial of a man accused of planning and carrying out bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon nearly two years ago, local runners who were there are reflecting on that day.

"Every race I go to now – even if it's for a split second – that's always on my mind," said B. D. Sechler, who was about a half-block away from the finish line when the explosions occurred.

Running is life for Sechler, who works at Raleigh Running Outfitters in Raleigh and trains for marathons in his downtime.

Although he wasn't harmed physically that day, he says it has left a mark on him in other ways.

It is a moment in time that is still vivid for him.

It was April 15, 2013, at 2:50 p.m. – just a little more than four hours into the iconic race when twin pressure-cooker bombs went off 12 seconds apart.

Three people were killed, and 264 were wounded.

Several days later, following a chase and shootout with police, authorities arrested Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for the crime. His 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a gun battle with police.

"I certainly want to see justice come, whatever that is," Sechler said Monday.

Jury selection in Tsarnaev's trial could take weeks, with potential jurors being asked to consider a possible death sentence if the 21-year-old – facing 30 charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction – is found guilty. He's also accused of killing an MIT police officer as he and his brother made their getaway.

Some family members of the wounded have spoken out saying that they hope Tsarnaev gets the death penalty.

Local runner Celia Mitchell agrees.

Mitchell was about 50 yards from crossing the finish line when the bombs exploded. She says the deadly day helped her realize how brief life can be.

"You can either let it really affect you by not going out and doing things, or (you can) continue to live your life," she said.

That's why Mitchell returned to Boston last year to run the marathon again and plans to do so again this April.

"There's nothing better than running the Boston Marathon," she said. "It's just the greatest. It's the greatest feeling."

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