It's a good thing Lance Kuehn is fast.
On Monday, the Eagan resident and Rosemount High School lacrosse coach finished the Boston Marathon in 3:18:00. Kuehn and his family packed up and left the course with plans to celebrate at a local restaurant.
Roughly 45 minutes later, two bombs ripped through the crowds, killing three and wounded more than 170 people, according to the latest reports. The bombs detonated right where Kuehn's family had standing less than an hour earlier, Kuehn said.
“If I was any slower, I hate to say it, but that would’ve happened to my family and myself," Kuehn said on Tuesday.
"We were down in the restaurant near the hotel, and I didn’t hear the explosions, but it was literally like every cop car in the area turned their sirens on at the same time," Kuehn said. "We had no clue what was going on.
"All of sudden the news comes in that there were bombings at the finish line and instantly everyone in the restaurant flipped open their phones, because we all had people that we knew in the race still."
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama denounced the twin bombings, which occurred within 100 yards of the finish line, as a "heinous and cowardly" act of terrorism, although investigators are still unsure who orchestrated the attack.
That thought troubles Kuehn, who questions why anyone would target a marathon—an event devoid of any political meaning or connotation.
"It’s not that I condone terrorism or I condone acts of violence, but I can see where people get heated up about things," Kuehn said. "I don’t understand why anyone would target this crew, this group. No marathon hurts anyone. When I go out and run 20 miles, the only one I’m hurting is myself."
Kuehn, a chemistry and physics teacher at Rosemount High School, started running after college to lose weight and stay in shape. Although he's participated in 10 marathons, this was his first time participating in the Boston Marathon.
The deluge of phone calls, texts, emails and messages Kuehn has received since the bombing from his friends and the wider community have been both humbling and overwhelming, he said.
“I was awestruck, I coldn’t take it all in with all these people that were contacting me, saying that our thoughts are with you."
"It was just shocking, to be one of the people that was there … how close I was to what happened," said Kuehn, who returns to teaching on Wednesday.
"I don't know what I'm going to tell my students."