In 2013, Tammy Hartje of St. Charles was just a few hundred yards from completing her first Boston Marathon, when one bomb, then another detonated.
“It’s affected me a little more now. I still get emotional about it,” Hartje said of that day.
Hartje said memories still scare and anger her. She has a hard time watching television and visiting the Internet when stories related to last year’s race appear.
“I had that day ripped away from me,” she said.
So close to the finish line last year, authorities made runners stop and reverse course. She also saw some of the chaos that incurred — and at first thought the bomb explosions might have been a cannon related to Patriots Day.
Hartje noticed the ensuing turmoil, with injured people, smoke, and the sound of sirens. In a bit of a daze from the scene, she made her way into a Dunkin’ Donuts, where two men from New Jersey helped her get her bearings.
Eventually, she was able to retrieve her bag that she had waiting for her across the finish line. Then she started the 2-mile walk back to her hotel, when, by chance, she found friends and people who were there in Boston with her.
Hartje — who works at the Midwest Bone & Joint Institute in Geneva and moonlights at Dick Pond Athletics in St. Charles — didn’t run in a race again until the Rock and Roll Half Marathon late last July in downtown Chicago, which draws more than 20,000 runners andoffered free participation to runners who were not able to complete their Boston runs.
“I was leery at first, but had a great time,” Hartje said. “When I saw the chutes runners pass through at the end of the race, I knew I had made it. It was fun.”Hartje said she won’t be joining friends heading to Boston this year in part because that it easily can cost $2,000 or so with hotels, flights, and entry fees.
“But I will be going back again, if not next year, somewhere down the road,” she said.
And she will be heading to Denver in May for her first marathon since Boston.
“I wound up running more than 26.2 miles that day. And I did get my medal,” she said.
And early November she wound up being interviewed for the book “If Not for the Perfect Stranger,” a collection or recollections from the 2013 Boston Marathon.
“They had seen a picture of me talking with Boston police, and I was crying. They got my name from my bib number. It was very healing to talk about what happened,” Hartje said.