Troutdale dentist crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon 90 minutes before bombings

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: JILL DORROUGH - Mark Dorrough, left, and his brother after the race as the the news of the explosion was spreading through the runners.Under a clear blue sky Monday morning in Boston, Mark Dorrough joined more than 26,000 other athletes to participate in what he refers to as “the Super Bowl” of marathons races.

It was the second time the Troutdale dentist had trained and traveled to Boston, seeking a personal best and the satisfaction of completing the grueling 26.2 mile course.

Dorrough crossed the finish line at 1:15 p.m., walked to the finisher’s area to rehydrate himself and phoned his wife, Jill.

They reunited within sight of the finish line, to wait for Dorrough’s brother, who completed the course around 2:40 p.m.

Suddenly, time didn’t matter.

“When the first blast happened, we didn’t know what it was,” Dorrough said in a phone interview Tuesday. “When the second one happened, almost right away, I told my wife, ‘That sounds like a bomb.’ ”

Shortly before 3 p.m. Monday, two explosions 12 seconds apart, ripped through the historic Copley Square area along the marathon’s final leg, killing three people and injuring more than 170 others. Sidewalks up and down Boylston Street were lined with spectators, who had been gathering since 6 a.m. for prime viewing spots to watch the world’s premier marathon.

Dorrough’s wife and two teenage children were among the crowd. They had secured good seating along the route, but thankfully, a force of nature plucked them from harm’s way at the last moment.

“They were right between the blast areas,” Dorrough said. “If one of the kids hadn’t had to use the bathroom, they would have been right in the middle of it. It was a miracle from God, really.”

But divine intervention wasn’t done with Dorrough’s family yet.

“My brother crossed the finish line about five or 10 minutes before the first blast,” Dorrough said. “If he’d been (running) a tiny bit slower, he would have been right in front of it. The end of the (course) is usually pretty quiet because runners finish in waves at different times. But after the explosions, it was really quiet. All of a sudden, there were all these sirens and that’s when the panic started. It was absolutely insane. The area went from the scene of a race to a war zone.”by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: JILL DORROUGH - Ambulances at the explosion site.

Dorrough, his brother and their families returned to their hotel by mid-afternoon only to find it was under lock down. The front desk was desserted. Lobby restaurants were closed, along with room service and a nearby Starbucks. Dorrough received a text message from a law enforcement friend, after he heard about the bombings, who advised him to “hunker down” in the safety of his hotel room. From their windows on the 22nd floor, Dorrough said they could see the medical tent, an unending line of ambulances and scores of law enforcement and military personnel.

“There was a huge police presence and the bomb squad,” he said. “We ventured out to get something to eat around 9 p.m. and you could see the shock on people’s faces. They just looked stunned. This was such a moment of celebration and it turned into such a tragedy. It’s just surreal.”

Currently in New York City on a previously planned family vacation until Sunday, Dorrough said the day’s events are still registering mentally and emotionally. He checked out of the Copely Hotel early Tuesday morning in the presence of a police officer holding an assault rifle and is trying to address the worries of his 13-year old son.

“He’s been asking, ‘How does this happen? Why would somebody do this?’” Dorrough said. “Who is that evil to go after innocent people? I’m still trying to grasp the reality of it.”

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