The impact of the Boston Marathon bombing has reached beyond the borders of Massachusetts.
Batesville native Charles Overton was one of many participants in the Boston Marathon.
Following the race, Overton said he changed clothes, received his medal and continued on with his normal routine.
Overton finished the race and was eating with his friends when he heard the explosion.
Overton said he mistook the explosions as festivities from events happening in Boston.
“We heard something and thought since it was Patriots’ Day, it was a cannon,” Overton said.
Overton said that his wife, child, mom and dad were supposed to accompany him on the trip, but for different reasons they could not.
“I was disappointed, but now I’m so thankful they’re not here. I want everybody to pray for the families of the injured.”
Will Smith, one of Overton’s friends, left his post at the finish line 20 minutes before the explosion occurred.
Smith said the scene after the explosion was utter chaos.
“People were running and police were everywhere,” Smith said.
“We heard it, but we thought it was fireworks. We were only two blocks from it.”
“We thought it was one of those cannons going off, but we didn’t know.”
Smith and Overton were scheduled to leave Boston for Mississippi this morning, but Smith said the trains and airports were immediately shut down.
Smith said they could not even make it to their hotel due to the hectic transportation.
Junior marketing major Collin Bailly is from Massachusetts and has relatives who live in Boston. Since the cell phone towers had their signals cut, he struggled to communicate with the people he knew in Boston.
“Being so far away you almost feel hopeless,” Bailly said.
“You don’t really know what is going on, what it’s for or even what’s the reasoning behind it.”
Bailly eventually got in touch with his family to learn that everyone was fine.
“I think that the situation as a whole puts a perspective to all the students around the country that anything can happen to really anywhere in the country,” Bailly said.
Ole Miss alumnus Bob Lynch, who lives in Boston and was watching the race about a mile away from the explosions, said that the people who were not immediately near the race were doing everything they could to communicate with friends.
Lynch said that his initial reaction left him not knowing what was going on.
“I had about 12 friends that were running in the race,” Lynch said.
“And thankfully they’ve been accounted for.”
Lynch said the entire town of Boston was focused on the race.
The Boston Marathon is held on Patriots’ Day every year, and Bostonians get the day off of school and work to enjoy the festivities.