Irmo minister plans to run Boston Marathon again

Jeremy Lloyd had completed the Boston Marathon in just over three hours, a “pretty good” time for him.

Jeremy Lloyd with Isabella, 3, and Jackson, 11 months, on the morning of the 2013 Boston Marathon.

After crossing the finish line on Boylston Street, he cooled down for several minutes, then gathered his belongings and sat down on a curb on a side street about a block away.

Lloyd, who moved to South Carolina with his wife and two young children three months ago to become worship pastor at Gateway Baptist Church in Irmo, had just run his second Boston Marathon. With some time to himself before his father-in-law would finish the race, Lloyd picked up his phone and began posting to Facebook about his experience.

He hadn’t met the goal he’d set for himself, but he posted that it didn’t really matter because God loved him, his family loved him, and he would live to run a race again.

Then his wife called and said her father had finished and they were waiting about a block past the finish line. Lloyd was asking a police officer for directions when they heard the first boom. A few seconds later: a second boom. The officer ran toward the finish line, and Lloyd, seeing the smoke, turned and began making his way down the street to find his family, still not sure what was happening.

He found his family, and they moved along Boylston Street away from the finish line and toward their hotel. Along the way, Lloyd could see TV screens inside buildings playing images from the chaos ensuing at the finish line – the scene he and his family were escaping.

It was only later, when they pieced together the timeline of events, that Lloyd realized his wife and two young children had been standing very close to the area where one of the bombs detonated about 15 minutes later. Whitney, his wife, had taken a photo of 3-year-old Isabella near the now-familiar barricades that separated onlookers from the street.

“I’m still processing it everyday,” Lloyd said. “You never know what may happen in a day. We’ve really got to live life to the fullest and think about all the opportunities we have everyday – things we want to accomplish, people we want to speak to, the words we want to say to different people. We’re not necessarily promised the next day.

“It’s amazing how the Lord guided our steps and kept us all safe. I’m reassured of God’s continual presence and faithfulness to us. I know there were good people – I imagine, Christians – who were hurt in all this, but I’m trusting the Lord that his plan is bigger than mine and that even through all these horrible circumstances good can, and will, come out of all of this. He brings good out of tragedy.”

Lloyd said a natural reaction to such a frightening experience might be to “hide in our house.” But he said he doesn’t want to live his life in fear.

“I want to run the Boston Marathon again, even more so than I did before,” he said. “I want to live life, enjoy it and glorify God through it with every day he blesses me.”