Hi everybody,

I was a volunteer at today's Boston Marathon. I was at the finish line and wound up sticking around to help with the emergency response. I'll post proof asap.

Proof: http://imgur.com/kdeqViH

Edit: Synopsis

My friend and I were working over on the corner of St. James and Berkeley St, about one block from the finish after the final food area. We heard and felt two loud pops (think dropping a huge textbook onto a hardwood floor). She thought explosion immediately, I wrote it off as a something falling. A cluster of police near us immediately alerted and started checking their radios. We heard the words two explosions come out of the radios and saw them start sprinting towards the finish line, vaulting barricades on the way.

We immediately started to gather out volunteer team up in one location, my friend got people together, I jumped in and started clearing paths for the first ambulance and fire truck on the scene. When they passed, I went back to my group and coordinated with the captain to get them out and back to our university where they would be safe. They left, and I insisted on staying behind to keep helping with what I was doing. (I love these people all dearly and they did their absolute best already.)

I went back to the intersection and started helping clear paths for emergency response vehicles and coordinating the responses of the regular volunteers, medical volunteers, and worked with the police officer nearby to do whatever we could. It wound up being three hours of controlled chaos of directing runners, families, spectators, media, and constantly clearing the intersection on a moment's notice for what must have been over 100 emergency vehicles. When BPD was fully mobilised, the volunteers were dismissed, and I went home with the rest of the teams.

On Gold: Please don't. I don't ever use reddit anymore, this is a one off thing. Donate the money instead to Red Cross or some organisation that'll support the recovery.

Checking out for now, I'll check back in the morning. Stay strong Boston

Comments: 1991 • Responses: 68  • Date: 

dropPoliceFed1958 karma

Zadmxm, Quick note - if you or anyone you worked with has any photos or videos from today - prior to or during the race can you please forward them to the FBI Boston.

[email protected]

Any place on the route, any time today. Would be appreciated by those of us who are investigating this horrible crime.

thanks (sorry for hijack - trying to get the word out).

zadmxm692 karma

We've tried to get all our photos in, but I'll put the word out to our team. We were way back at the start of the chaos, but I'll let them know. Thanks!

StreetDwellerBoards1769 karma

No question, but I am very glad you are safe.

zadmxm1463 karma

Thanks. It's been a freaky day.

Thehealeroftri373 karma

So, I've been wondering since I heard the news.

What was your initial thought when the explosions went off? Did you suspect a terrorist attack, did you suspect a gas leak or something? Is the chaos as bad as you thought it would be? Are there more dead than you thought? Less dead? More injured? Less injured?

Sorry for so many questions, I'm just very interested in events like this. A morbid fascination I guess.

zadmxm523 karma

I thought construction accident when I hear the noises at first. Once they said explosion, I did pretty much assume attack. The marathon is a uniquely powerful thing, and there are sadly people who would destroy that.

tokomini107 karma

Were volunteers like yourself given any instruction ahead of time on how to handle a situation like this should it arise? I realize there could be no predicting this type of thing, just curious on any training you may have received ahead of time.

zadmxm168 karma

We weren't. I was a very low level volunteer, on the higher level planning volunteers I'm sure they had plans in place.

slithek85 karma

Did chaos ensue when people realized it was an explosion, or did most people attempt to stay calm and help out the injured?

zadmxm402 karma

It was really a mix. Some people ran in, some people ran away. Both did something equally important.

RahtoTheBingle1057 karma

How close were you to the initial explosion?

zadmxm1354 karma

A block.


I'm glad you are safe. Was it loud?

zadmxm1132 karma

Not as loud as you'd expect. Sounded more like a pop, but you really could feel it in your chest a little bit.

RahtoTheBingle401 karma

Thanks for answering. I'm a little confused. Did you hear two explosions? Or did the two devices explode at the same time?

zadmxm824 karma

Two explosions seconds apart. They sounded pretty much identical.

VSahota979 karma

I guess I will start by saying thanks for sticking around and helping people, the world benefits from having people like you. Now I gotta ask how would you describe the situation and what happened in your own words?

zadmxm1143 karma

My friend and I were at our post when we heard and felt something that sounded like a huge pop. She immediately thought explosion, I downplayed it and wrote it off as something falling. There was a group of police nearby who's radios went off and all we heard was, "Explosion" and then they took off towards Copley. We found the rest of our team and we got them out of there but I decided to stay back and help however I could which wound up being directing emergency vehicles of all sorts and managing foot traffic.

GrapeRello955 karma

are you going to volunteer when they do it next year? Very cool of you to help out after everything happened.

zadmxm2281 karma

Yes! I met some incredible people today, saw incredible athletes, and am not going to let somebody with a bomb keep me away from that.

hijklmno727 karma

This may seem insignificant, but how were the runners attended to after everything went down? After running a marathon, you can be at risk for a lot of serious health issues (dehydration, exhaustion, etc.), and without proper treatment it can even lead to death. If everyone was focused on the explosion, and the medical tents obviously had to be converted to aid stations, then how did they treat the hundreds, maybe thousands of runners who were finishing or nearing the end of the race?

zadmxm715 karma

The medical tent near me kept focusing on runners where possible. We did keep running our wheelchairs in and out of the finish area, but they really focused on the more expected post-marathon care.

NotaMethAddict603 karma

Could you give a synopsis of what took place from the explosions until now, from your point of view please?

zadmxm713 karma

I want to get to this one, I'll try to once the initial flurry dies down a bit.

It's up! See OP.

curiousjorge118562 karma

How did you react when you saw the first people being taken from the blast area?

zadmxm928 karma

I didn't. I've been in high stress situations before, never on this magnitude, but I deal with crises very calmly.

shitpplsay382 karma

How do you deal? Do you repress it or do you actually deal with it?

zadmxm1002 karma

It honestly doesn't register, I just focus on what has to happen and what my next move has to be. It's starting to sink in a little bit now.

shitpplsay430 karma

Hope this AMA helps you work through the crap that you witnessed today.

zadmxm953 karma

I'm doing this partially just to get my thoughts on metaphorical paper so I can look back on this in the future.

StickleyMan23 karma

How are you feeling emotionally right now? Thank you for doing this AMA.

zadmxm28 karma

Pretty mellow. I'm a bit edgy to see what the next few days will bring.

Waja_Wabit475 karma

If one of us were to ever find ourselves in a situation like this, do you recommend we run away from the site so we don't get in the way of the first responders, or toward the site to help the first responders? What would be the most helpful?

zadmxm889 karma

It depends. For me, I was volunteering already and knew I dealt with crisis situations very well. I also have a very diverse skillset that came in handy.

Also, I wouldn't recommend running, unless you're right by the blast. Get clear and move with a purpose, but not with chaos.

Waja_Wabit292 karma

Thanks! Follow-up question (if you see this):

What skill-sets are most needed by first responders? In other words, what skills would I need to possess to make my presence an asset instead of a hindrance?

zadmxm1072 karma

Level headedness and being able to do exactly what you're told. If they say jump, you jump and ask midair how high they want you.

ICouldBeTheChosenOne474 karma

How long did it take to realize how bad it actually was?

zadmxm856 karma

Until I got home.

Japanistan46 karma

You didn't see any of the victims? How long did you stay there as well when all that happened?

zadmxm62 karma

I was far enough away that ambulances were going in and out past me.

Edit: Missed the part about how long I was there, I stayed for 4 hours past the explosions until they made us go home.

jimmyjohntwo410 karma

I'm sorry you had to witness something like that. How are you doing? I am sure it was horrifying and can't really even imagine what it was like. I am sure there are a lot of grisly things you can tell us but let me ask a positive question. What was the most amazing or touching thing you saw today?

Edit: grizzly to grisly

zadmxm751 karma

The volunteers, the runners, and the first responders. Every last person who stuck around did an incredible job and went so far above and beyond what they had signed up to do.

One of my favorites was a runner who put on a Google Fiber team jacket afterwards, jumped in, and helped us coordinate our efforts.

rolfraikou1243 karma

I'm sure he was 100 times faster than everyone else to respond. /poortaste joke

zadmxm1020 karma

I made nearly that exact joke about him helping us optimise.

5-7-4378 karma

You okay?

zadmxm546 karma

I'm good. Doesn't feel real though.

MrWerbenmanjens346 karma

I heard a report of people continuing to run after the marathon was over and running the hospital to donate blood, is that true?

zadmxm619 karma

Yes. Marathoners are a really unique species.

JimmithyWeav307 karma

No question. But being a runner. I think to myself this could of been me in this marathon. Thank you for the help or the wounded and what you did. You had the heart and guts that others could not.

zadmxm380 karma

Thanks for being a runner. I'm one myself, but an injury has me limping along right now. It's incredible to see what humans can do.

epicrat125 karma

I would have been hauling ass out of there expecting more.

+1 for balls to stay and help out.

zadmxm26 karma

Hauling ass for me at the moment is a bit of a rapid hobble, so I wasn't really going anywhere.

Dopeaz239 karma

I've heard these were ball bearing packed. Did you hear the rain of bearings? I listened for them in the videos but audio sucks. Any bearings littering the streets?

Are you ok?

zadmxm311 karma

I didn't hear the rain of bearings, I just heard the initial pops of the blasts. By the time I left my post the entire area was blocked off.

squatly214 karma

What was the split between people staying to help, as opposed to getting out to safety asap? It must've been terrifying.

zadmxm338 karma

It was really a mix. Bombs are scary, it's really hard to know who's going to react how until you're in this situation.

Thehealeroftri168 karma

When you went to help did you think anything like, "There could be more bombs and I could be caught in one"?

When I first saw videos of the explosions I was thinking that if I was there I probably would have been hesitant to help because I would be worried there were more bombs.

zadmxm613 karma

It crossed my head, but I really didn't think of it for long enough. To me, the possibility of getting injured is less important than the potential for helping others already injured.

Shinytoaster42 karma

Don't you want most people to get out of the way, to safety, and those in a position to help (e.g., doing a specific task like dealing with traffic or skills like a paramedic, etc.) to stay? I'm just thinking it would be a logistical cluster fuck if everyone stayed to help.

zadmxm63 karma

It would be. I've got a solid and wide skillset that I suspected would come in hand, and it did. The marathon is so huge that we used everybody who was there.

sherlocksammy188 karma

Before I ask, thank you.

Everyone was freaking out because this was near the Newtown bleachers, was this as close or as big a deal as everyone made it?

zadmxm312 karma

It was an emotional link, and a very emotional thing. New England is a close knit community that really rallied around Newtown, and that blow really was felt.

unclesam27173 karma

Have you ever been more scared in your life?

zadmxm550 karma

Yes. A friend of mine had a medical emergency the other day and was having issues breathing. It was much more personally scary and less manageable from my view. This was much more an abstracted setting where I just had to keep going and could do something to help.

BigManBeard300 karma

Jesus. You're a god damn machine.

MurrayTempleton158 karma

It sounds detached, but what he's saying makes sense in my opinion. It sounds like he didn't have time to stop and process or be emotional in today's case.

BigManBeard106 karma

Thank you. A friend of mine is very badly injured from the blast today. was complaining about not being able to beat his marathon time when the doctor told him to get off the phone. i have mad respect for this individual who, after experiencing something personally traumatic, STILL attended and volunteered at this marathon where he/she made a difference for people like my friend. They're a god damn machine. No time to be in shock, no time to be tired. Only time to be a hero. One of a great few in this world.

zadmxm102 karma

I loved the runners who did this, it honestly made me laugh and just keep going. It's such the mentality of a marathoner.

David_Orozco171 karma

also do know any extra info the media might have not shared, i've been hearing about multiple dismemberment at the scene of the site is that real true?

i_hate_you_all76347 karma

(Commenting to find this later down vote all you want)

ItsBDN219 karma

Fuck you I'll do what I want, upvoted

zadmxm285 karma

zadmxm234 karma

There were some lost limbs, other than that I don't know.

ranger_ric125 karma


zadmxm313 karma

I'm not sure. It's definitely going to leave a mark, this is a nearly sacred day in Boston.

Turbofat123 karma


zadmxm225 karma

I didn't at first, they weren't really that loud considering what they were. I wasn't in a spot where I saw the worst of the injuries, but I am a biologist and have never had an issue with anything that I saw.

CitizenApathy116 karma

I'm not sure if this is an appropriate question or not, but here goes:

I've read that before the bomb went off that there was an abnormally high amount of police at the marathon, and that they had dogs sniffing for something which is a possible indicator of a received threat or perceived abnormality. Can you confirm or deny? Did you notice anything different about this marathon that may have been different from others?

Thank you in advance for a response, for helping those people, and I am glad that you are safe.

zadmxm161 karma

I didn't notice anything unusual. I wasn't really paying attention to security though, I was volunteering with a different team.

Foxbuzz113 karma

Who were primarily affected by the attack- runners or spectators?

zadmxm236 karma

Spectators were more injured, the explosions were in the crowd.

SleepyWaitress96 karma

What was the most heroic thing you saw done today?

zadmxm355 karma

Things like this will always bring out the heroes in everybody. I saw people do incredible things, runners finishing one of the hardest races out there and then going and donating blood, turning around and helping coordinate our efforts, bomb squad guys rushing straight into an explosive situation. Every last person who did something good today is, in my mind, a hero for going so far above and beyond what they'd signed up to do.

Hellsoul1o189 karma

How would you describe what happened leading up to, during, and after the bombs went off?

zadmxm186 karma

Leading up to: Calm, celebration, congratulations, and cheering. During: Not much different. It took a few minutes before we started to realise what had happened. After: Controlled chaos.

Rob_Saget79 karma

Did the media do an accurate job portraying the devastation or is it worse than we can imagine?

zadmxm123 karma

I haven't been watching much, it seems pretty accurate so far.

Spyderbro71 karma

How are you doing?

zadmxm133 karma

I'm alive and well, thanks. How are you?

TheMonitor5671 karma

I have to ask; does anyone know what actually happened at this point? There's been so much sensationalism I just want a straight answer.

zadmxm113 karma

We know there were bombs. That's as much as I can tell you first hand.

virgilturtle68 karma

What's your impression of the general mood around Boston shortly after the blasts and again now?

zadmxm154 karma

Strong. We're a unique city that's got very close bonds, and there's a lot of anger and sadness.

Barriej61 karma

After this tragic event. Do you think you will volunteer for next year if they have another marathon?

zadmxm134 karma


Edit: Also, I don't think it's a question of if. We will have another marathon, Boston isn't going to give up a tradition like this because some nutjob tried to scare us off.

MrBawk60 karma


zadmxm122 karma

The explosion was close to the finish line bleachers near a store called Marathon Sports. It went off around the 4 hour mark of the race, the runners coming in then were about the middle of the pack.

flippityfloppityfloo60 karma

Oh my...

What did you do as part of the emergency response?

Do you have any photos from the scene?

Were you around for the discovery of the other device(s)?

Thank you for your volunteerism. Volunteering your time is something I wish more people would take advantage of. There are many in need.

zadmxm123 karma

I do not have photos from the scene, I was about a block away and was more focused on helping however I could.

I helped direct traffic into the emergency command center and manage runners, foot traffic, and their families.

I was, we heard over the police radio that they had found another device and that bomb squad was dealing with it.

_TheMinister_55 karma

Have you ever run the Boston Marathon? Has this attack made you want to run it or run it again?

zadmxm238 karma

No, but I do hope to run it one day, especially in defiance of today's events.

InvertedColorz54 karma

Did the fact that the runners had just run 26 miles have any impact on their reactions to the explosions?

zadmxm87 karma

Yes. When we were clearing paths for EMS, it was hard to get their attention and to get them to react quickly and predictably.

Musicmantobes49 karma

Thank you so much for being there to help. My uncle was there as well and really everyone there needed all the help that they could get. I'm glad that you're safe too. What was your first thought when you heard the explosion?

zadmxm70 karma

I'm glad your uncle's okay! Nothing at first, by the time I realised what was going on I was more focused on getting my team safely out of the area and then helping.

onlymycouchpullsout49 karma

Can you relate to us how you felt in the moments that proceeded and after the explosion as well as anything else noteworthy.

zadmxm77 karma

Laughter. A nearby volunteer had just misspoke and said that the buses would take the runners back to the start in Boston, not the actual start. It really hit when I saw the police start running and jumping barricades.

greenram37 karma


zadmxm73 karma

Nothing, the pops didn't register as explosions at first. We felt them, but I wrote it off.

danielbearh36 karma

There are reports that there were bomb sniffing dogs both at the start of the race and the finish line before the race began. According to this account, they announced over the speakers that this was a training exercise. http://www.local15tv.com/news/local/story/UM-Coach-Bomb-Sniffing-Dogs-Spotters-on-Roofs/BrirjAzFPUKKN8z6eSDJEA.cspx

Can you confirm if you saw heightened security like rooftop spotters, bomb sniffing dogs and loud speaker announcements?

zadmxm35 karma

I cannot. I wasn't focusing on security at all, and the only loudspeakers I was aware of were the runner assistance vox boxes.

itdontwork211234 karma

Hey, i just want to say first off, thank you. Quite simply, the world needs more people like you. Now as for my question; I don't know how close you got to the blast afterwards, but what was the kind of damage around where it went off? Again, thank you so much for just being the person you are and making the choice to stay and help :)

zadmxm48 karma

I never got closer than half a block in, it simply didn't make sense. There were some broken windows though in the area.

happyjakk34 karma

What was your initial reaction to the explosion?

zadmxm64 karma

Nothing. It didn't register as an explosion.

theodrixx52 karma

What's a sound most people are familiar with that you think most closely resembles an explosion?

zadmxm200 karma

Imagine dropping a very large and heavy textbook from several feet up onto a hardwood floor.

iamaredditer32 karma

How did the police react upon arrival? Did they allow people to simply walk away are was there areas where people were questioned upon leaving? Thanks for helping and glad you are safe.

zadmxm60 karma

They did a great job of getting the area clear asap, their immediate priority after the second explosion was to clear the area and help people.

keno9922132 karma

Anything you heard about the Marathon on the news that wasn't true?

zadmxm30 karma

I haven't been watching much, but no, not yet.

David_Orozco28 karma

did you run in and help anyone?

zadmxm71 karma

I was too far away for it to make sense for me to run in, there were amazing volunteers everywhere and everybody jumped in right where they were.

Leviktuz25 karma

Who do you think is behind these attacks?

zadmxm131 karma

Somebody awful. The marathon is really a celebration of what we can do as humans, and it's terrible somebody decided to attack that.

ICouldBeTheChosenOne23 karma

How long did it take to clear the area?

zadmxm29 karma

Not long. It never got completely clear, but we got it empty enough within half an hour.

vegetablehomicide20 karma

Beyond the people who were directly injured, how many people do you think will have emotional damage that may affect their lives? It is hard to see the scope of how many people really were in the area of the blast and had to witness this tragedy. Do you think this will affect your mentality for the rest of your life? Glad you are ok.

zadmxm46 karma

It's hard to tell this early on. The marathon is huge in Boston, and it's really going to affect the psyche of the city for years to come.

I'm not sure yet. I suspect this is a day I'll be thinking about for a while.

GlitchedForLife19 karma

Thank you for being there to help as best as you could. This is such tragic news to wake up to, but I'm happy that you and many others are safe.

Was there any suspicious activity going on before the explosion? I'm truly confused as to why such an attack happened in the first place.

zadmxm36 karma

Not that I noticed. Marathons are really a celebration of what we can push the human body to do, and sadly, some people see that as an appealing target.

zachs114 karma

First of all, thank you. I live < 30 minutes away from Boston and went to the marathon last year, and all this seems so surreal. My question is, did the press get in people's way who were trying to help?

zadmxm31 karma

At times. There was one guy who wouldn't take no for an answer and ate up a lot of resources until we could get police to get him out of the way. On the other hand, there were members of the press who jumped right in and helped in the best ways possible.

idonotconsent14 karma


zadmxm55 karma

There were. We had a good few more scares with potential bombs being right near us, but I really just pushed it aside and kept working.

Givemetheupvotesplz11 karma

How intense was the overall atmosphere there after the bombs went off. And who won the race

zadmxm17 karma

Once everybody knew what was going on, it got focused really quickly. There were winners, I believe the men's elite winning time was 2:10:46

Thewest5410 karma

After reading all your answers, thank you for staying and helping people in any manner you could. People like you and emergency workers saved lives today.

zadmxm15 karma

Everybody did everything they could. Without the team effort and the incredible people, we couldn't have done it.