'Very loud' explosions
John Buck of Bel Air was running on his own. He finished his first Boston Marathon with a time of 3:43:36 and was in the changing tent near the finish line when the explosions happened.
"They were very loud," said Buck, reached at his home Tuesday.
Buck said others in the changing tent initially thought the explosions were "some sort of celebratory cannon," but as a project manager with the Army Corps of Engineers he recognized the sound of a bomb blast immediately.
"I was never in the military, but I do know what explosions sound like," he said.
Buck had gone to Boston with a group of 10 people, including his wife, daughters, sisters, and extended family.
He said some of his relatives saw the smoke and emergency responders rushing toward the scene.
The group met a restaurant owned by friends, and as news reports came in, "the seriousness of it started sinking into people at that point."
"It was a family event, to be disrupted like this, I felt so fortunate that no one in my immediate family was injured," he said.
Buck ran in the New York City Marathon in 2011, but does not plan to run the Boston Marathon again, because of the very hilly course.
"I don't think this would deter me from running in other marathons or big events," he said of the explosions. "I guess it would be something in the back of your mind, but I would definitely run in other marathons."
Alex Kammerer, a 2009 graduate of C. Milton Wright High in Bel Air, who is slated to wrap up his undergraduate career at Ohio State University in two weeks, finished the marathon in 2:55:39, the quickest time of any local participant, and was already at a friend's house relaxing when the bombs detonated more than an hour later.
"My friend lives between Boston College and Boston University, so I was three or four miles from the finish when it happened," Kammerer said on Tuesday afternoon as he walked between classes back at O.S.U. "We didn't know anything had happened until we started getting texts from people who were asking us if we were okay. That's when we figured it out. My first thoughts, first emotions, were just of being numb that something so terrible would happen. As my thoughts developed a little, that turned into frustration, anger, that someone would do that during an event like the Boston Marathon, in such a happy, positive environment."
Monday's marathon was just the second in which Kammerer has competed. He qualified for the Boston Marathon by finishing the 2012 Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon with a time of 3:04:39. Kammerer said he was sparked by the huge numbers of fans that came out for Monday's race.
"It was, without a doubt, the most motivational environment I've ever been in," Kammerer said. "It's electric. You're almost unaware of how tired you are, because your adrenaline is going the whole time. There's just walls and walls of people, and they're shouting the entire time. It's not even a sporting event, really. It's more of a celebration. That's whey this is so sad, because spectators are definitely going to be scared to come out and watch after what happened."
Despite being shocked and saddened by the bombings, Kammerer said they will not affect his decision to run in other marathons.
"Absolutely not," he said. "If that happens, then they win, whoever did this."
'Lowest of the low'
"I feel horrible for people who didn't get to finish. I know what I did to get there, to do that and not be able to finish, that's definitely a hard feeling," Hennessey said.