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Arkansans unharmed in Boston Marathon blasts

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas runners who participated in Monday’s Boston Marathon all apparently escaped unharmed when bombs exploded during the event.

Thirty-seven Arkansans were registered to run in the race, 21 of whom had completed the race and five others had passed the halfway point when it was called off after bombs exploded near the finish line.

Authorities reported at least two people died and news reports said more than 100 were injured in the blasts, which occurred just before 2 p.m. CDT.

Eleven other Arkansans had not reported reaching the midpoint of the race at the time.

The five who were more than halfway through the 26.2-mile race — Julie Bridgforth, Mary Jo Brinkman, Abdi Dubed, Jeffrey Glasbrenner and Jamie Merriman — all were reported safe.

Two sources close to Bridgforth’s family said the 62-year-old who works in administration at Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff and her husband, who was a spectator, were unharmed, the Pine Bluff Commercial reported.

Brinkman, 71, works in administration at Summit Medical Center in Van Buren. Her employer was able to contact her after the explosions and confirm that she had not been injured. Another runner from the Fort Smith area, Dr. Joni Carmack, started the race but had not recorded a halfway point time before race organizers ended the marathon.

The Boston Marathon website said Dubed, 29, a former cross country runner at the University of Arkansas, and Merriman, 53, who works for The Learning Institute in Hot Springs, were uninjured.

Glasbrenner, a writer who lives and works in Little Rock, also was uninjured, according to an employee at the Go Runner store in Little Rock, a Glasbrenner sponsor.

Nearly 27,000 runners representing 96 countries competed in the race, organizers said.

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