BOSTON (WIVB) - Many Western New Yorkers travel to Boston for the annual marathon and were there when two bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three people and injuring over 130.
Belinda Stoll of Lockport had just finished the Boston Marathon.
"I was walking past the finish line and getting my medal," Stoll said. "I heard the noise before I saw the explosion, I looked up. So, I heard the noise, I looked up, there was a huge cloud of smoke that went up about two stories high of the building."
MORE | Watch the second video with this story to hear from a member of the Erie County Sheriff's Bomb Squad
She continued, "I wasn't in New York City, but all I can liken it to is a wave of people running and there are people that once you stop running a marathon, you literally can hardly move."
Daemen College professor Charlie Sabatino was at the 23-mile mark and was hustled into a church by police for protection.
Buffalo restaurateur Dennis Brinkworth had finished the race about a half hour earlier and was a half-mile from the finish line.
"You heard this huge blast and I kind of looked back and really didn't think twice about it. But it was kind of immediate that you heard sirens following it and helicopters honing in on the area," Brinkworth said.
Vicki Mitchell is the coach for the Checkers Athletic Club in Buffalo, which sent about 20 local runners.
"They are very much, I think, in a state of shock," she said. "It changes everything, and again, we've only had a couple hours to digest this but it changes the dynamics of thinking about big international competitions, it changes your dynamics about thinking about local road races. It's a place that's supposed to be safe, fun, enjoyable and healthy."
Stoll added, "It just infuriates me. It makes me mad. I don't understand it."
And Brinkworth noted, "It gives me more resolve to go out and qualify for it again, just to prove to these people you can't stop or affect such a great event. I just think it's a shame."
Stoll thinks the reason someone set off the bombs at that time is because the four-hour mark is sort of a benchmark for qualifying, and it's the time when the most runners are crossing.
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