by Dennis Dalman
Quite exhausted, Jereme Fimrite of Sartell was in his Boston hotel room when he thought it felt like something hit the building, but he couldn’t tell what it was.
About an hour earlier, he had crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon. He was tired; he was sweaty. He stepped into the shower. When he stepped out, he was puzzled when he noticed a slew of phone calls on his cell phone. He quickly gave a “what’s up?” call to his father in St. Cloud.
There was an uncustomary silence after his father answered.
“I’m just glad to hear your voice,” his father said after a long pause.
“What?” Fimrite asked, puzzled.
His father asked him, “Don’t you know?”
And that is when Fimrite learned about the bombs that rocked Copely Square during the Boston Marathon, which he had finished just two hours earlier.
After talking to his father and others, Fimrite walked out of his room door at “Hotel 140,” which is just a couple miles away from the marathon’s finish line. The hotel hallway was filled with runners, fans and other people who were worried, concerned and utterly perplexed about the dribs and drabs of alarming news they were getting.
Rumors ran rampant: Was it just a natural-gas explosion? Was a manhole cover blown out of the street? Could it be true the Boston library was on fire? Were bombs exploding on the marathon route? Was the city under attack? Why was there an order for people to stay put, including hotel guests?
Fimrite said so many people in the hotel were frantic, trying to contact loves ones far and wide to tell them they were OK. Some did not have access to cell phones or land phones, and so they were borrowing other people’s phones to reach loved ones.
Many in Hotel 140 were frustrated, stymied because they wanted to venture outdoors to help others, but they were ordered not to leave.
“We didn’t know what was going on, and we only found out what was happening – little by little,” Fimrite told the Sartell Newsleader.
One of the worst things, he said, was there was no way to find out how fellow runners were doing, including people he just happened to meet at the event.
Many hours later, Fimrite and his wife, Tammy, had time to reflect about their time in Boston. Both are glad to be home again with their children and loved ones, but both feel sorrow for those who were killed or injured in the bomb blasts.
People who know and love Fimrite were so glad to see him back home, including his many students. He is a sixth-grade math teacher at South Junior High School in St. Cloud.
“Running in the Boston Marathon was the highlight of my athletic career,” he said. “It was everything I hoped for and more. It was exhilarating. But then, at that pinnacle of feeling, there was terror when I realized what happened so close to that finish line.”
Fimrite and his wife are still trying to process that wonderful but horrible day.
“They cannot take away our freedom,” he said. “I’m inspired to want to do this (run in the Boston Marathon) again. That wasn’t my plan, but I will. We’re going to rise above this.”
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.