Scary moments for N.J. couple and daughter

Mike and Cindy Schlitt with their daughter, Meghan, before the start of the Boston Marathon. All finished the race before chaos erupted.
Mike and Cindy Schlitt with their daughter, Meghan, before the start of the Boston Marathon. All finished the race before chaos erupted.
Posted: April 17, 2013

Mike and Cindy Schlitt, pediatricians from Haddonfield, were 100 feet from the finish line when the first bomb went off.

"She ran a PR" - a personal record - "and a 3:55," Mike Schlitt said of his wife. "We were literally ahead of the bomb by four minutes. We crossed the finish and she was exhausted. We stayed at the finish a good couple of minutes so she could recover. Just as we were getting up to start to walk, the bomb went off, and another 20 seconds, another bomb.

"I knew it was a bomb right away," he said. "I looked at Cindy and said, 'That's a bomb.' You could see the smoke. People are just running. People started to run toward the first bomb site. To help people. It was all the medical staff. They all ran right toward the blast, and then there's the second blast. They're telling us to run away as runners. As responders, they're running toward it."

"Just the fear and panic in people's eyes was horrid," he said.

Mike Schlitt is 54 and practices in Haddon Heights. Cindy Schlitt is 50 and practices in Philadelphia. Their daughter, Meghan, 23, a second-year medical student at Thomas Jefferson University, also ran Monday, and finished about 15 minutes ahead of them.

"My daughter, who had run the race with us, finished ahead of us, and we told her to meet us at the bus. She ran a faster time than we did, and she's waiting at the bus, and she's calculating when we should come through, and the bomb goes off."

Meghan Schlitt tried to call her father, who had his cellphone as he ran. But she had to call seven times before he answered.

"She's literally in hysterics," Mike Schlitt said. " 'Where are you? Are you OK? Are you OK?' . . . They wouldn't let parents into the family waiting area. 'Can you tell me anything? Is my daughter in there? I don't know anything about where they are.' "

Mike Schlitt said it was the perfect weekend for a marathon, perfect weather, a perfect day - until terror ruined it.

"This should never have happened. There's a running community, and everybody is amazingly supportive of one another, picking each other up when they're down. Runners aren't political. All it is, is to try and cause terror."

He said he and his wife and daughter received more than 150 text messages and phone calls from others. "It was an amazing outpouring of concern," he said.


Contact Michael Vitez at 215-854- 5639 or mvitez@phillynews.com, and follow on Twitter @michaelvitez.

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