Runners describe the Boston Marathon as a beautiful event that brings thousands of like-minded people together. They never suspected it would be tainted by terror.
Many Berks County runners passed the finish line before the explosion, but at least one never made it there.
As far as we know, the Berks County runners are safe. Two of them spoke by phone about their experience in the race after the explosions.
Nancy Sensenig, of Wyomissing, picked up her medal at the Boston Marathon, and then she heard something from about two blocks away.
"I was coming up an alley towards the family meeting area and heard a large boom," said Sensenig. "It sounded like a maybe crane dropping a construction type sound and then it was immediately followed by another one."
At the time, she said she had no idea what had happened and headed to the train station.
"A policeman was in front asking us if we see anything unusual or suspicious to let them know," said Sensensig.
It wasn't until she was on the 4:00 train she said she heard about the finish line explosions and people getting hurt an hour earlier.
"Of course all our family members were texting us and we could not at that point. The circuits were overloaded," said Sensenig. "We could not get calls or texts out. Texts were not going through."
She said someone said the race was cancelled.
"And so far, we think everyone was through and safe from Berks County that we knew," said Sensenig.
But Matt Courtesis, of Mohrsville, was not through. He said he ran until about mile marker 25.
"It was strange. One minute you were running around and probably a hundred people and you're kind of in the zone," said Courtesis. "A minute later, you look around. There's like nobody around you. It might have been like 20."
If he had been on pace, he said he might be a dead man.
"My goal time was to be at the finish line by 3:00. About 15, 16, I made the decision that I was going to slow down, so I cross the finish line smiling and not hurt myself," said Courtesis, "So, I guess that was a good decision."
He's disappointed he didn't finish, but glad everyone he knows is safe.
"It's really sad someone would go out and do something like this. It really is," said Courtesis, who told his friends he will go back next year if he can. He said he would never hide from a coward.