Ambulances line up in the south end of Boston on Monday after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Photo by Greg Hall

Ambulances line up in the south end of Boston on Monday after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Photo by Greg Hall.

Boston Marathon Bombings Affect Fitness Club Industry

Staff members at several health clubs in Boston and around the country were either in the Boston Marathon or watching the race when two bombs exploded.

The bombs that exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, which killed three and wounded more than 170, shook the city of Boston and the entire nation. The fitness club industry was no exception.

Dan Salerno, the co-fitness director at The Longfellow Sports Club, Natick, MA, says he was about 300 yards away from where the second bomb exploded. Salerno was waiting for two of the club's trainers, Mariana Conway and Sone Souvanna, as well as the club's maintenance worker, Michael Gallagher, who were all running in the marathon. Another trainer, Adam Poitrias was waiting near where the first bomb exploded and suffered minor injuries from the explosion but is doing OK, Salerno says. The three runners were about a half-mile from the end of the race and also are OK, he adds.

"We all managed to find one another and got out of the city together," Salerno tells Club Industry. "It was a scary day for us all."

Another runner, Erin Reeves, a tennis pro at the club, had just completed the race and was receiving her medal when the first bomb went off, says Salerno, adding that she also is OK.

The same cannot be said for staff members of the Charlotte (NC) Athletic Club. According to the Charlotte Observer, Nicole Gross, a personal trainer at the club, underwent surgery Tuesday at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital for leg wounds. She had surgery Monday for a broken leg and a broken ankle. Her husband, Michael Gross, the general manager at the Charlotte Athletic Club, was treated for burns and cuts.

Nicole Gross, who was on the cover of Tuesday's New York Post in a graphic photo, and her sister, Erika Brannock, were waiting near the finish line to cheer on their mother, Carol Downing, who was still completing the race when the bombs exploded, the newspaper reported. Brannock suffered serious leg injuries, according to reports. A message to the Charlotte Athletic Club was received, but the club had no further information.

Natalie Bushaw, a spokesperson from Life Time Fitness, says about 100 members of the Life Time Run Club raced in the marathon, and all are accounted for. Most of the members are from Minnesota, with the rest from North Carolina, Colorado, Georgia and Illinois, Bushaw says.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the runners, their families and all of those involved in [Monday's] tragedy in Boston," Bushaw said.

One Boston-area club operator who wished not to be identified said some friends of his were injured and his friends' granddaughter was severly injured.

"Had a feeling yesterday that I would know someone who was hurt," he said. "Hard to understand reality of the world we live in."

Other Boston Health Clubs React

Matt Harrington, president of GymIt, Boston, and strategic projects manager for Healthworks Fitness for Women, Boston, says staff and members from both clubs are OK and that there was no knowledge of any injuries. Harrington says the company's office and Healthworks Back Bay club were in the lockdown area, but both were open for business Tuesday.

"The blasts were very loud at the office," Harrington says. "I was on the street at Commonwealth and Mass. Ave. when I heard it."

According to a statement on the Healthworks website, Healthworks clubs will be open the rest of the week "to the women of the community to serve as a place to come together and support one another, as the strong community we are and will continue to be."

Johnathan Rodriguez, an administrative assistant at The Sports Club/LA, Boston, said the company's office closed not long after the bombs exploded Monday.

"The vibe here in Boston is different," Rodriguez said Tuesday. "Even walking down the street, you can tell it changed people."

A spokesperson for Planet Fitness, Newington, NH, said its clubs in East Boston and Revere, MA, are open and available to anyone who has been displaced and needs a hot shower.

Meredith Poppler, spokesperson for the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), Boston, said IHRSA staff and families were watching the marathon not far from the finish line, close enough to hear the explosions.

"As far as we know, no one we know was hurt," Poppler says. "There are a few IHRSA member clubs in the area and many of the local clubs field teams, so we're still in information gathering mode."

In a blog post on the IHRSA website, the association said it has received thoughts and prayers from people around the country and around the world and thanked them for their concerns.

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