Morgan native Billy Peterson is an experienced runner, having competed in over 50 marathons including three previous runs in Boston. During the race last week, Peterson did something unique in his running career: he took his cell phone and seemingly saved his wife and young daughter from tragedy.
With his history of marathons and training for them, Peterson has started to feel wear and tear, especially on his knees. He felt like the Boston Marathon would be his last marathon and wanted to really capture the experience.
He took his phone with him to take photos all along the way. Peterson had found the Boston Marathon to be particularly exciting with crowds cheering the entire stretch of the 26.2 miles, encouraging top runners who have to be well above average to even be allowed to participate.
Peterson snapped dozens of photos to document his experiences, an activity that slowed him down from his qualifying time of 3 hours and 2 minutes at the Ogden Marathon.
Peterson’s wife, Heather, and 2-year-old daughter, Berkley, waited at the finish line hoping to catch a glimpse of him crossing. Unfortunately, the area was crowded and she missed him crossing the line.
As Peterson crossed the finish line, he was ushered to an area to retrieve his bag and meet up with his family. Peterson texted his wife and asked her to meet him at the designated area.
Heather and the toddler slowly made their way the two blocks over to meet him, something that took 10 to 15 minutes because of heavy congestion. The whole area was very noisy and full of energy and commotion, but nothing necessarily out of the norm for the annual event.
The Petersons didn’t hear the blasts or screams and the trio left the area and headed to the subway, where they first learned of what happened. They soon received texts from Cade, Karly, Kaiya, and Brigham, their four children at home; as well as others wanting to hear word of their safety.
As they received more information about what had happened, Heather realized she was standing in the spot where the first bomb had been detonated and had left the area only about 10 minutes before. They feel tragedy was averted by Billy’s decision to carry his phone with him for the first time in his many races.
The Petersons found the city of Boston to be incredibly quiet with streets closed and hotels on lock down. However, police cars, fire trucks and camera-toting reporters took their place across the city. The Morgan residents were staying a mile and a half away in the area of Cambridge, which turned out to have many connections to the suspects that committed the terrible act.
While marathons seem impossibly long to most, they pale in comparison to some of Peterson’s other races. He has ran in a 50-mile race in Provo Canyon and celebrated his 40th birthday with something on his bucket list: a 100 mile race! Peterson’s ability to endure is obvious in his history of running.
With a bit of serendipity, Billy, Heather and baby Berkley united safely with the rest of their family here in Morgan. With his perseverance, Peterson will be running strong in his future endeavors.