Emotionally drained but grateful runners back from Boston, other locals still stranded

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A wave of local runners arrived Tuesday afternoon in Kansas City, exhausted and emotionally drained from the Boston Marathon.

Tom and Melinda Kearney of Olathe didn't run, but they're waiting for the rest of their family members to return. Their son-in-law, John Kohler of Olathe, finished the race well before the blast. But now Kohler, his wife and their two young children are stuck in Boston.

A restaurant the Kohlers and Kearneys were forced to evacuate is now sealed off to the public -- with the Kohlers' belongings inside.

"Their stroller, their car seat. You can't take a child on a plane without a car seat," Melinda Kearney said.

The Kearneys are forced to wait for their loved ones to come in, but many runners are thankful to be back in Kansas City.

Ali Hatfield said she had just crossed the finish line 15 minutes before the bombs detonated. She was less than half of a mile away when she head the booms, which she said keep replaying in her head. The Kansas City resident said it was difficult to sleep Monday night.

"Every time I heard a noise in the room above me, I was on edge, I was anxious," Hatfield said. "I would hear a siren and worry that I was going to hear something again. But in Kansas City, I feel safe."

LIST | KC runners in Boston Marathon http://bit.ly/1188wdO

Hatfield said running the Boston Marathon was a dream come true, but at this point she is unsure if she will do it again.

Blue Springs runner Mark Niblo feels differently.

Niblo ran the Boston Marathon for the fifth time Monday and said he won't let the threat of violence get in the way of something he loves.

Niblo finished the race and was inside his hotel room when the blasts occurred. He didn't feel anything, but said the hours that followed were tense as he tried to get calls out to connect with his friends who were also running.

"It's pretty somber. Nobody cares about their times or how they did, they were just worried about how everybody else was and the people that got hurt," Niblo said.

Wendy Watts of Lenexa was greeted with a much-anticipated hug and kiss from her husband as she and Christen Moore of Olathe arrived at Kansas City International Airport. Both women ran the race for the first time and were impressed with how Bostonians handled such tragedy on a day usually reserved for pride and joy in their city.

Watts said the excitement leading up to the marathon was a stark contrast to what followed.

"It was absolutely exhilarating, so it was fantastic. The event was spectacular. Unfortunately with the chain of events, it was horrendous," Watts said.

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