A couple with ties to eastern Carolina recounts the harrowing minutes following the explosions at the Boston Marathon.
Jonathan and Paulina Hill, both ECU graduates were on hand for the marathon. Jonathan was running in it, while Paulina, 8-months pregnant with their son, watched at different stages.
Paulina had received a VIP ticket from a friend who was concerned about her standing amidst the crowd. The ticket allowed her into the grandstands that sat across the street from where the explosion would take place.
“It was so loud, it was like a cannon. For a second you think nothing bad is going to happen then when you hear the second one and see that, because you see the smoke everywhere that's when you realize that something is not right,” said Paulina about the explosions.
Jonathan had reached mile marker 25 when he and other runners were redirected.
“I was in a state of panic emotionally, I was thinking the absolute worst and all I could think about was trying to get to her,” said Jonathan in the moments after they learned about the explosions.
After 30 minutes of confusion, Jonathan says he finally touched base with a friend whom Paulina was with, “We cried, we shared a long embrace and I was just so happy to see her.
The Hill’s say that they will be back next year, with their son in tow.
“You know it empowers you almost, once you get over the shock of it the fear of being there and subjecting yourself to that," said Paulina.
Jonathan is from Kernersville, North Carolina, while Paulina is from Toronto, Canada. The two met at ECU. Jonthan graduated in 2003, Paulina in 2004.