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Carson-Newman student finishes minutes before Boston explosions

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Carson-Newman University student Stephanie Savino (left) and her friend Sarah Pritchard (right) finished the Boston Marathon minutes before bombs exploded at the finish line

Carson-Newman University student Stephanie Savino (left) and her friend Sarah Pritchard (right) finished the Boston Marathon minutes before bombs exploded at the finish line

Story by Aletheia Davidson, courtesy of Citizen Tribune

A Carson-Newman University student narrowly avoided disaster during Monday’s Boston Marathon by finishing the race and leaving the area just minutes before the bombs exploded.

Because of an injury, Stephanie Savino, a nursing student, and her friend Stephanie Pritchard, had planned on running the race in four hours, considerably slower than her usual pace. A pace that would have put her, her friend and family among those running from the terror at the finish line.

At 2:50 p.m., about 15 minutes after Savino and her friend finished, two bombs detonated near the finish line. The explosions came about 10 seconds apart, killing three people and wounding more than 170.

“It’s such a tragedy. It’s sad how many people were injured and (how) three were killed,” she said.

The pressure-cooker bombs sent hot metal fragments, nails and BBs tearing through the limbs and bodies of runners and spectators.

Savino said they were in the second wave of runners and had decided on the four-hour time because she had suffered an injury while training for the race a few weeks ago. Instead, she was able to run at her more usual pace.

“We managed to keep a steady pace. The course is a great course, everything seemed perfect, and the weather was great. We averaged around eight-and-a-half minutes (per mile),” Savino said. “We ran consistently throughout the race.”

Savino explained she wasn’t sure how they managed to keep their pace with her injury.

“I don’t know what it was, but we were able to keep our pace and finish early. My parents were waiting at the finish line,” she said.

If Savino and Pritchard hadn’t kept their pace they easily could have been approaching the finish line when the bombs exploded.

Instead, Savino finished the race in three hours and 37 minutes. The difference allowed Savino, Pritchard and Savino’s parents to leave the area before the bombs exploded.

They took a picture and then headed to Starbucks to grab a hot chocolate. Savino said they were rushing so she and Pritchard would have time to clean up before the trip home.

“We wanted to get a shower in before we got on our plane,” Savino explained.

By the time the bombs shot off, the future nurse was two-and-a-half bocks away and wasn’t called upon to render any aid to the injured.

“We were at Starbucks when it happened,” Savino said. “I was not close enough to any of the injured or the explosion itself to see the magnitude of their injuries or provide any emergency assistance.”

Savino said she was grateful they kept the pace they did.

“I will be working as an Army nurse and I will become familiar with caring for injuries similar to what the explosions caused,” Savino said.

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