First-Hand Accounts of the Tragedy at the 2013 Boston Marathon Finish Line

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Runners, spectators and volunteers share their stories of what took place after the explosions at the 2013 Boston Marathon. If you were on the ground near the finish of the Boston Marathon when the explosions went off, please visit Reactions from the Running Community to share your story. We are trying to compile as complete a picture of what happened as possible for our readers.

"I had finished the marathon?and was at the family meeting area walking towards Boylston. We heard the two explosions and no one knew what was going on. Then a cop near us froze, listened to his walkie-talkie, and sprinted towards the finish line. Then all the ambulances, cruisers, special ops vehicles started flying toward the finish line. It was absolute mayhem; no one knew what was going on or where to go. One cop even said to my cousin, 'If you care about your life, get as far away from here as you can.'"

—Lauren Galenski, via Facebook

"My wife had already finished and we were about a block away when the explosions happened, one after the other. Everyone was freaking out trying to know what the next right move was. We ended up walking 7 miles back to our hotel to avoid taking the subway, not knowing if it was safe."

—Nate Pennington, via Facebook

Related: The Future of Public Sporting Events Post-Boston

"I was about 15 feet away from the second blast. I was looking for my uncle, who was about four minutes out. Suddenly we heard a loud bang and I thought it was weird that they were doing fireworks—did one misfire? Then I heard and felt another bang—so loud you could feel it. It took me a minute to realize that people were throwing themselves to the ground. I saw fire and smoke and broken balloons flying. We thought there were more bombs at first. I saw a little girl or boy about three years old thrown into the middle of the track. He was carried off as I ran into a corner to hide. I couldn't find my mom or grandparents right away. Thankfully we were all safe except the tiniest bruise on my ankle. This was horrible."

—Nicole Dwyer, via email

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