Colorado runners who returned from Boston Marathon one day after explosions describe shock, anger

DENVER - Colorado runners returning from the Boston Marathon described feelings of shock, anger and sadness.

“It’s just so sad that people died,” said Lucinda West. “It’s so sad to me that someone would want to ruin such an exciting event for people.”

West said she was running with a pulled adductor muscle and that that slowed her down.

“Had I been right on pace,” West said, “I would have been finishing around the time the bombs went off… I feel very lucky to be alive.”

West’s friend, Junko Kasukawa, said she finished the race beforehand and started experiencing muscle cramps, so she went to the medical tent.

She said she went to get her bag and was socializing with another friend when they heard an explosion and saw smoke.

“We were looking at each other, like ‘what’s that?’” she said. “Then we saw the second one. Everybody around us just got silent.”

Kasukawa said she immediately thought of a terrorist attack.

“It was upsetting and sad,” she said.

"I think the innocence of that day and the camaraderie, and friendship and everything that I've always loved about the marathon is now taken away from so many other people,” said runner Dan Verdi. “And so, really, [I'm] just upset about it."

"I still am in shock,” said Abby McQueeney Penamonte, who watched Verdi, her husband, run the marathon. “You just think that you’re going to be safe and you just never expect that something like this will happen.”

Carla Sassano, who ran the Boston Marathon for the first time, said initially it was a great experience.

“There were tremendous crowds,” Sassano said. “The people were great.”

Sassano told 7NEWS that after she finished the race, she and some other runners were talking about how sore their muscles were.

“Then we heard the noise, turned and saw the smoke,” she said. “Then a few seconds later we saw the other one go off.”

The runner said the course was a little more difficult than expected, so she started to sprint to make up time.

"Had I not sprinted, God only knows where I would have been," she said.

Sassano continued, referencing the death of a child named Martin Richard, who was one of the three people killed in the attack.

"I'm so thankful to be here and I, too, have an 8-year-old little boy, so knowing that that happened was very devastating … I didn't sleep very well last night."

She said after the explosions, the city was locked down.

"It was crazy and everybody was speculating, I had to walk probably 5 miles afterwards because the subway was closed down," Sassano said.

Cindy Chapman said she ran the Boston Marathon for the 12th time.

“It was a great race day for me,” she said, “until that happened.”

“We’re just praying for those families that have been affected and are happy that we are home safe,” Chapman said. “I feel very fortunate. You just think, ‘Oh that could have been any of us out there.’”

Runner Riikka Hertling told 7NEWS that she heard the loud bangs as she was getting closer to the finish line.

“Pretty soon we just saw runners stop and said, ‘what’s going on?’ And then police stopped us and said the race is over.”

Hertling said she didn’t see any carnage up close, but did see it on TV.

“That’s when it hit us, how close we were,” she said. “We had plans to speed up our pace… all kinds of thoughts went through our mind, you know, had we done that we’d have been right there. We’re just lucky.”