Eve Pearson’s Story

Nine Lives: Amazing Stories of Survival

Eve Pearson never runs with her phone, especially when attempting a 26.2-mile marathon running for speed. But just before she started the Boston Marathon on April, 15, 2013 (Patriot’s Day), she decided to document the fun. After all, she had been training since 2008 to qualify.

She had not taken a vacation in four years. A friend of hers would go with her to Boston to cheer her on and tour the city for a week afterward. They would try restaurants and go shopping.

The day of the race, Eve was in heaven and remembers the entire event vividly. She passed mile marker 21 that said, “The Heartbreak is Over,” referring to the tortuous hill the runners defeated moments before. She remembers turning the last corner and doing a cartwheel at the finish line.

People in her pictures were partying, kissing the runners, sitting on their roofs drinking beer. From the images on her camera, you could see the love Bostonians and runners had for the event. All of that was about to change.

Ten minutes after Eve joyously crossed the finish line, two bombs exploded about 210 yards away from each other and 12 seconds apart. Eve was now on ground zero of a terrorist attack.

“A lot happened in those last 10 minutes,” Eve said.

She remembers her calves were hurting, and so she stretched them out. She got her recovery drink, a bag of food, her finishing medal and a jacket to keep her warm. A woman was cramping on the ground, so she walked up Boylston Street back to the finish line to go get her a wheelchair. At this point, she decided to call her best friend to meet her in their hotel lobby only blocks away.

“I am sure it was seconds before the bombs went off. We were in the hotel lobby and heard the noises … but never questioning it at all. I thought it was maybe fireworks,” Eve said.

The second bomb went off where her friend was standing moments before Eve called her, and Gail still struggles with depression and fear. Eve didn’t want to celebrate her success that day either. It didn’t seem right to her. She avoided all news coverage afterward because replaying something she almost succumbed to was not productive. She asked restaurant managers in Boston to turn off the TVs if they were playing images from the bombings.

Both now feel like they are on borrowed time, but Eve went back to run the Boston Marathon in 2014 to deal with the trauma. It wasn’t until she got to ground zero at 5 a.m. the day of the event that she realized she hadn’t fully dealt with the trauma.

“The Boston Marathon will never be the same because there is so much military and police. All the rules had changed. It was so intense and controlled,” Eve said.

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