By the time the explosions went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Caitlin Wilson was already safely on a train back to Wickford Station.
She admits though, it’s eerie thinking what could have happened had a few things gone differently Monday afternoon.
“We rushed and tried to make the early train,” she said, “but if not we would have had a couple hours to kill, so we were going to watch the end of the race.”
Wilson, an assistant coach on the North Kingstown girls outdoor track team, was in Boston Monday afternoon with her husband for the Boston Red Sox game against Baltimore Orioles in which Mike Napoli drilled a game-winning double off the Green Monster in the bottom of the ninth.
Only Wilson never saw the hit.
“We missed the walk-off,” she said. “If we had stayed, we weren’t going to be able to get on the [approximately 2 p.m.] train. It’s a little scary thinking, ‘what if we had stayed?’”
With a two-year old at home and another on child on the way, Wilson and her husband wanted to beat the anticipated traffic on the 4 p.m. train by leaving the Sox game a little early.
That being said, Wilson – a native Rhode Islander who went to college just outside of Boston – had watched the Marathon’s conclusion in the past and had fond memories Patriots Day in the city.
“Unless you actually see what Boston is on Patriots Day you can’t understand it,” she says. “It’s a very innocent event.”
What happened Monday was obviously very different from the event she had come to know – “horrible” as she describes it – but Wilson was not the only one to narrowly avoid the tragedy.
At North Kingstown, Wilson coaches the distance runners and one of her athletes – Aisha McAdams, one of the best in the state – was on the sidelines at the Boston Marathon cheering on her brother Patrick.
While Wilson was at Fenway Park and McAdams at the marathon the coach inquired about where her runner was watching the race.
“Where are you watching Patrick run,” Wilson asked, “and she sent me a picture.”
It wasn’t until Wilson got home and both were back safe in the Ocean State that where the photo was taken from finally resonated.
“I was like, ‘that looks really familiar,” Wilson says. “It was the same kind of view the camera angles were showing [on television]. The picture that she sent me was kind of the same. That was kind of the eerie part.”
Fortunately, McAdams’ brother had finished the Marathon “in the three hour range,” and was already driving back to Rhode Island by the time the heartbreaking events happened.
According to the Boston Athletic Association, Patrick McAdams was 11,328th competitor to cross the finish line with a time of 3:40.11.
As Wilson put it though, it’s ‘eerie’ to think how different things could have been if a train left early or a split time been a minute slower on each mile.