Steve McLaughlin is a professional photographer. For the past four years he has shot pictures of Boston Marathon runners who raise money and compete for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. There are patients and families waiting on the side of the road, around Mile 25, for their runners. When the runners come by, they stop and there is hugging and cheering and McLaughlin takes photos. The image of one runner stuck in McLaughlin's head after last year's bombing. "One Dana-Farber runner came up, she was crying already," he said. "She knew what was happening. They were all smiling. She told them. And then she kept going." The patients and families didn't know what was going on then. Nobody did. There was a lot of confusion. They hadn't heard the bombs go off at 2:47 p.m. The race continued for a while. "It was very strange," said McLaughlin, who lives in Torrington and has run Boston three times, last in 2003. "The first thing I noticed was that all the police lining the course started walking toward the city. An uncle of mine goes to the [Red Sox] game every year. He saw something on his phone. He had stopped and was chatting to me. Then we heard more and more. It filtered through the crowd. People were still running for at least an hour after that. "Then everybody stopped. Everything just stopped. I tried to go into the city, I figured it was something I should be covering. I made it to Kenmore Square before I was turned back." McLaughlin gave a shivering female runner the fleece sweatshirt he was wearing. Then he walked back to his car and just sat there. "I was parked by the BU Bridge," he said. "The parking lot overlooks Mass. Pike. I was watching the black SUVs and bomb trucks coming in. I just sat there and didn't know what to do. It was crazy. I was mad. That somebody would do that to my race. Our race." He'll be back this year. "Talking about it, I just get mad," he said. "These were some stupid people with no agenda, really. It was just stupid. Pointless."
Patrick Raycraft / Hartford Courant