Laura Brustolon ran an impressive race in her first Boston Marathon, but Monday's tragedy left her in a somber mood.
She heard the terrible news after leaving Boston.
Her thoughts immediately focused on her fellow runners, the spectators and people involved with running the historic race, not on a time that placed her first among female finishers from Connecticut (two hours, 56 minutes, 32 seconds).
"I've been trying not to look at the results because I know there was a horrible thing that happened at the finish line and everybody couldn't finish," Brustolon said late Monday afternoon. "I'm lucky to be able to run.
"There's more important things than how I did."
Still shaken from the day's events, Brustolon, 25, of Mystic talked about her experience on the phone from Lawrence, Mass., where she plans to move after completing graduate school at Quinnipiac University. She's accepted a job as a pathologist assistant.
Brustolon, a 2006 Stonington High School graduate, was competing in her third marathon on Monday. A former track and cross country standout at Southern Connecticut State University, she ran as part of the Boston Athletic Association women's open team.
The cool weather was perfect for a marathon, according to Brustolon.
"I've always wanted to run the Boston Marathon," she said. "It was great. I was amazed at how many volunteers there were along the course to help guide the runners as well as the support from surrounding towns.
"I know the Boston Marathon means a lot to the city of Boston. … Even if you're not from around the area, you feel very welcome and feel the support."
As part of her post-race routine, she called her parents in Mystic. The conversation was far from routine.
Brustolon, who was the top female finisher in the 50th Ocean Beach John & Jessie Kelley 11.6 mile road race last summer, felt fortunate to be safe and sound.
"I like to call my family and tell them how I did after the race and I did," Brustolon said. "Then, all of a sudden, they are worried that somehow I was part of the horrible explosion. I didn't even know that it had happened. It's really hard.
"… I had a great race. But it's very sad."
She continued to express her sympathy for the runners.
"Boston and all the towns on the course did the best they could to keep everybody safe," Brustolon said.
"So many people there are out to have a good time and you assume everyone is going to run into the city and not everybody got the chance that I did. I don't think that's right."
The tragic event won't discourage her from participating in future Boston Marathons.
"It's the longest running marathon in the world, so it's hard to say that I'll never go back," she said. "That would be fear getting the best of us. It's still the Boston Marathon, still has the best reputation and a challenging course and great people.
"Yes, sometimes bad things happen to good people. … No one really saw it coming."
In the men's race, Scott Mindel, 26, formerly of New London, ran a personal best 2:22:05 to place 30th overall. He now lives in Ballston Lake, N.Y.