If St. Louis resident Micah Little, 25, had been a little slower, her run in the Boston marathon yesterday could have ended very differently.
Her brother Marty Little, 26, says that he and his mother were there cheering on Micah -- and just half an hour before the explosion, they were standing in the very spot that became a scene of chaos and disaster.
"It was pure panic," Marty Little tells Daily RFT in a phone interview late last night from his hotel, where he says they were on "lockdown."
"It was sickening. It feels weird. The city feels weird," he says. "All these people work so hard...and their lives are shattered."
In the aftermath of the horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon yesterday, people around the country scrambled to track down friends and loved ones who trekked to the East Coast for the high-profile event. We wrote about one St. Louis group that coordinated through Facebook to account for everyone in their team and share messages that they were doing all right.
Late last night, we got in touch with the Little family as all three of them were stuck inside a hotel room right next to the hospital that has more than 100 injured patients as a result of the explosion.
Marty Little tells us that his sister ran across the finish line at 2:30 p.m. and was getting her medals around 2:40 p.m.
The bombs went off around 2:50 p.m.
At that point, he says, the three of them were together, just four blocks away.
They weren't exactly sure what was happening, but they jumped into a taxicab that started to drive away -- as firetrucks and ambulances began to arrive.
"We were getting away right when it happened," he says.
Continue for more on the Littles' experience in Boston yesterday.
They made it to their hotel where more people were gathering, trying to reconnect with friends and family.
He knew of one married couple who had initially struggled to find each other; one of them had crossed the finish line just as the bomb hit.
"He thought he had lost his wife," Little recalls.
For some, it seems a bit hard to process.
"People travel from all around the world," he says of the marathon.
And now, they were all at the center of a national tragedy.
"All the major news stations and helicopters are right here," he says. "When they zoom in on the blood on the streets, that's where we were -- minutes away from something really awful."
The family is from Overland; Marty is an attorney and a city councilman in Overland, and Micah is a physical therapy student at Mizzou.
The family is hoping to get home today, assuming they can get on their flight as planned.
He says they keep reminding themselves that if the timing was slightly different, their day could've been much worse.
"We lucked out," he says.
Here's an update he posted on Facebook in the immediate aftermath.
Witnessing an act of terror and being within the proximity of such gruesome acts of violence brings upon a sickening feeling. Luckily, my sister completed the race and had about a half hour to celebrate all of her hard work. We were standing where the bombs detonated as she finished the race and had she been minutes slower, we would have had a much worse day than we have had. We were on the street when the bomb detonated, but were about 4 blocks from the finish line. We are still having trouble with phone calls, but hopefully we will be able to keep you informed. Thanks for all of the love.