[NATL]Terror in Boston: Boston Marathon Explosions

NATL

Three Dead, Hundreds Injured After Explosions Near Marathon Finish

North Texans at Boston Marathon React to Explosions

Local runners return home to North Texas

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    NEWSLETTERS

    North Texan Juli Baldwin talks about being in Boston at the time of two explosions Monday.

    More than 900 Texans were listed to take part in the 2013 Boston Marathon and more than 300 North Texans from 47 different cities were in the marathon when two bombs exploded near the crowded finish line on Monday.

    Three people died and more than 170 others were injured in a terrifying scene of broken glass, smoke and severed limbs, authorities said.

    North Texas runners were shaken by the explosions.

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    [DFW] Arlington Runner Talks About Her Boston Marathon Experience
    Kim Gray of Arlington says she is glad she finished the 2013 Boston Marathon faster than expected.

    Juli Baldwin finished the race in three hours and 53 minutes, about 15 minutes before the first blast.

    "We thought it wasn't a gun because it was so loud," she said. "It seemed like a cannon. It was Patriots Day. That wasn’t the issue. We saw a big plume of white smoke and heard everyone yelling because I was standing right next to medical."

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    [DFW] Hundreds of Runners Return Home to DFW From Boston Marathon
    Three flights landed in Dallas Tuesday morning, bringing home hundreds of participants from Monday's Boston Marathon.

    She said the area was chaotic and confusing.

    "When the second one went off, we all knew something wasn't right, and when we heard the medical teams -- the lower-extremity injuries, people in wheelchairs, they were bloody -- we knew it was very serious," she said. "When you finish normally, 'It’s who won? When did you finish? What’s your age group?' I didn’t even know who won the marathon until a day later. It wasn’t a topic. It was more, 'Did you get a chance to finish? Because people who were behind the explosion didn’t get a chance to finish, so it was totally different."

    Kim Gray, of Arlington, had finished the marathon about 30 minutes before the explosions. She was three blocks away when they happened.

    "I heard a loud explosion. It was really loud -- almost like a building was coming down, like in the movies when they blow up a building," she said. "I didn't know until people started running toward me and they were telling me what happened and they were all crying, so I finally figured it all out."

    Gray said she didn't realize at first what was happening.

    "You could hear it, but you could also feel some of the impact from it," she said. "People just kept running and screaming and I was listening and I don't think I was comprehending it at first. It wasn't getting through to me what was really happening."

    "It was pretty scary," she said. "They were crying and running toward me and telling me to turn around. I just got really scared and started crying. I didn't know what to do because they're telling me to leave, telling me to leave Boston, and I was trying to get to my hotel."

    Gray said she might have been at the finish line at the time of the explosions if she had not finished the marathon faster than expected.

    "I had planned for a four-hour marathon yesterday and someone, my friend Thomas, gave me salt tablets and I felt better," Gray said of her ability to finish earlier than she'd planned. "I picked up my pace for the last five miles or I would have come in around four hours [when the bombs went off.]"

    Monday was Gray's fourth Boston Marathon. And although she is planning to take a temporary hiatus from the annual spring tradition, she said she will be back.

    Other North Texas runners had already crossed the finish line and had left the area before they heard the news.

    "It's almost like somebody coming into your home and tearing it up, blowing it up. You know, it's real personal, so whenever you see something where in a marathon that it become dangerous, it's scary. It's sad," said Kelly Green, of Irving.

    "I was in disbelief," Plano runner Jan Vicary said. "I couldn't believe someone would come to such an amazing, wonderful, inspiring event and wreak havoc and terrorize people who are innocent, especially, from what I've heard, children."

    "I don't like running marathons, but it's such a fun race," said John Morgan, of Grand Prairie. "There must have been about a million spectators out there cheering me on, so I'll come back every year, hope to qualify and come back."

    Runners said family and friends immediately began contacting them to make sure their loved ones were all right.

    Felicia Scott, a Parker County woman who was running in her first marathon in her mother's memory, said the blasts occurred before she reached the finish line.

    She told NBC 5 on Monday that she was OK.

    "I wasn't near the finish line yet, so they stopped us," she said. "I'm sitting in a Holiday Inn right now, just waiting until I can get back to my hotel."

    Scott was stopped at mile 24 and told to go to a nearby church. She later moved to a Holiday Inn across the street that was warmer.

    Keller senior Megan Forrest was still running when she heard the blasts. She took to Twitter to tell her loved ones in North Texas she was safe.

    Popular Dallas running store Luke's Locker had 18 runners representing the store in Boston.

    "It's very disappointing, in terms of the running community, that this would happen," Luke's Locker CEO Matt Lucas said. "Running is such a peaceful event."

    Early Tuesday morning, dozens of runners gathered at the Dallas store for a morning "social run" after a restless night of trying to get updates from friends in Boston. Many said they only got updates because strangers let them use their cellphones and power outlets.

    "I had people checking in on Facebook. Texting was very difficult. I finally got a text from my friend, who ended up sitting in a stranger's car, borrowing his phone," local runner Colm Bergin said. "I wouldn't say it was panic, but definitely chaos, until we were able to hear from everyone and confirm they were all right."

    All 18 of the Luke's Locker runners were safe after the blasts, the store said.

    The chain will donate $1 of every shoe sale to the Red Cross for the remainder of the month of April.

    NBC 5's Elvira Sakmari, Kendra Lyn, Jeff Smith, Andres Gutierrez, Ben Russell and Eric King contributed to this report.