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MUSC dietitian survives Boston Marathon terror

By Ashley Barker | News Center | April 26, 2013


Janet Carter

Participants run towards the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15 as an explosion erupts.
Photo by Dan Lampariello/Reuters


Janet Carter described the running injury she incurred five weeks ago during a 10K as her “saving grace.”

If the MUSC/Sodexo dietitian and manager of the Heart Health program had not strained her left Achilles tendon, she would have been on track to cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15 around the same time two bombs exploded, killing three people and injuring more than 250.

Instead of running the marathon, she limped her way through the race. Around the mile-22 mark, she remembered seeing a flurry of emergency vehicles zoom through the path she was on, completely unaware that the first bomb had already exploded four miles away.


Janet Carter

“There were five to seven police cars and motorcycles that had raced down the route, which is very rare during a race for them to be dodging runners. So I knew something was going on,” Carter said. “I saw people on their phones and heard a girl crying.”

Eventually marathon officials barricaded the course and escorted the remaining participants to a nearby church on the Boston College campus. Carter, whose father, Glenn, had her cell phone, spent nearly three hours waiting in the church.

“It was pretty impressive how they were taking care of us. They were giving us blankets, because we were sweaty, and it was cold. They had tons of food and went across the street to buy snacks,” she said. “Probably only half of the runners had phones. Everybody was willing to share so we could all get in touch with our families, which was tough because they shut down the cell service so we could only text.”

Administrators at Boston College eventually catered hot food to the runners in the church, and a student brought a handful of various cell phone chargers. Carter used another person’s phone to send a text message to her brother, who lives about an hour outside of Boston and was waiting around mile nine, to tell her father that she was fine.

Glenn was waiting for his daughter to finish the race approximately 200 feet away from the second bomb when it exploded. He was not injured in the blast.

“We had big hugs and were so glad that we were both OK,” said Carter about seeing her dad for the first time after the explosions.

Carter, a Boston University graduate who has completed nine marathons and two IRONMAN races, isn’t going to let the bombings keep her from racing.

     
Janet Carter plans to keep competing.

“I feel like this kind of stuff could happen anywhere and anytime when you’re in a large group of people like that. I was happy to be there, and I definitely want to do it again. I want to experience it the way it was supposed to be,” she said. “I’m really sad that this event is going to change the face of all these racing events.”

Carter said living in fear is what allows terrorists to win.

“It’s so hard to qualify for Boston, and I never thought I would. When I did, I was so excited that I thought, ‘I’m going to do this no matter what,’” she said. “Who knows what could have happened? Who really knows? These sick people that plan these things are thinking, ‘Where can we get the most people in one place?’ It’s pretty unbelievable.”

Just five days after the Boston Marathon, Carter said she finished first in her age group in a half-IRONMAN race. The injury was not a problem.


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