Portage County residents who ran Monday's Boston Marathon react to scene

R-C staff report Published:

Kim Plough was only two-tenths of a mile from the finish line when the bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

"I immediately started running the other way," the Ravenna High School graduate said. She was trying to find her father, former Portage County Municipal Court Judge John Plough, but had no luck.

Read: Obama says Boston bombing act of terrorism

John Plough, who was about three-quarters of a mile from the finish line when the bombs went off, said he went into panic mode as he tried to push through to the front, with no luck, to find Kim.

"It's impossible to for me to describe how I felt, I was hysterical," he said. "I couldn't just stand there, I had to look for Kim."

About an hour after the attack, John Plough learned his daughter was OK, and by 6:30 p.m. they were in traffic jams as they tried to get out of the city.

"Every road is blocked," Kim Plough said. "We've been trying to get out of here for three hours."

John Plough said the day felt perfect before it was shattered.

"People came up here to enjoy the marathon, everything was going real nice, it was a perfect day to run and then you have some people with twisted minds that want to create havoc and just destroy everybody's good times," he said.

At least 13 Portage County residents were running in Boston, according to the official marathon website: Five from Aurora, five from Kent and one each from Ravenna, Streetsboro and Mantua.

Aurora resident Mark Godale, 43, had competed the race and was overlooking the finish line when the bombs went off.

"People were running into the hotel crying and screaming," he said. "I went up to the fourth floor where a friend has a room overlooking the finish line. I could see the blood and damage from the bomb."

Dan Rebella, a Mason resident and the nephew of Ravenna resident Don Kainrad, had completed the race and was sitting in the spectator stands across the finish line from where the explosions occurred.

Although cell phone service went down in Boston, Kainrad said Rebella managed to get a message out to family that he was OK.

"(Rebella) said it was incredible -- the debris, the smoke -- and had indicated that he was injured a little when people panicked and rushed off the stands," Kainrad said, adding that the hotel Rebella stayed in wasn't opening its doors, and Rebella was scheduled to fly out of Boston Monday night.

Jeff Smeiles, son of former Portage County Commissioner Chris Smeiles, was running his first Boston Marathon. Chris Smeiles said several members of their family were in Boston to cheer Jeff on. They were miles away when the explosions occurred.

"After he got gone we decided to leave town. We were on a commuter train on the way out" when the explosions went off, Smeiles said.

Smeiles said he and his family had been at the finish line, near where the explosions happened, to see Jeff finish 98th overall. Jeff Smeiles, 25, is a Theodore Roosevelt High School graduate.

"We actually watched Jeff go past us (at the start), then walked up to the finish line" to meet him, Smeiles said.

There was a large police presence everywhere downtown and there didn't appear to be anything out of the ordinary, Smeiles said.

"The entire day was pretty much a holiday spirit -- it's Patriots Day in Massachusetts, a state holiday, so downtown Boston was packed," he said.

"It's just tragic that such a great event would be marred," Smeiles said.

Record-Courier staff writers Kyle McDonald, Dave O'Brien and Mike Sever, and Hudson Hub Times editor Andrew Adam contributed to this report.

The hometown, name, age and finishing place (in parentheses) of Portage County runners, according to baa.org, were:

AURORA

Mark Godale, 42 (4,064)

Stephen Godale, 44 (2,481)

Scott Long, 33 (4,427)

Christina Pennington, 31 (2,630)

Jessica Pickana, 32 (3,234)

KENT:

Emily Collins, 34 (10,655)

Meghann Featherstun, 29 (8,134)

Sean Hoover, 22

Jennifer Simmerman, 29 (6,530)

Christopher Was, 45 (5,673)

MANTUA

Melissa Hale, 38 (2,890)

RAVENNA

John Plough, 65

STREETSBORO

Jennie Ballentine, 32 (11,865)

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  • Thank goodness these folks are ok. My condolences to those that were lost and my well wishes to those that were hurt. I just don't know what human would do such a horrendous thing. I think I'm going to become a agoraphobic.

  • Prayers to everyone involved...I heard of A Rootstown woman who also ran...was ok too...Praise Jesus!