Lynchburg, VA - Many runners from the area were in Boston Monday, to take part in the marathon. ABC 13 contacted a few of them. One man described the day's events as chaos.
The runners we spoke with say the day was one of stark contrast.
Both men finished the race; the achievement of a lifetime. But it was one soon overshadowed by tragedy.
For a runner, the Boston Marathon is the pinnacle; the crowning achievement of your career.
In a flash though, it turned to horror.
Lynchburg runner George Cook had headed up to Boston with his wife and their friends.
Cook had already crossed the finish line and was in his hotel room, relaxing a block away, when he heard it.
"Two sort of big booms and then my wife called me after that and said that people were running on the street and that two bombs had gone off" he said.
Cook and his wife made their way to a restaurant where they watched the chaos unfold.
"You look out and there are ambulances lined up just heading towards Boylston" he said.
"It was shocking and it's scary. This is a celebration day for runners. Running is my hobby and I know so many people" said Madison Heights resident Jordan Whitlock.
Whitlock had also finished less than an hour before the blasts.
He remembers the excitement of crossing the finish line.
"There's like half a million people cheering you on. So the finish line is packed with screaming fans and stuff. That's what makes Boston Boston, just how exciting it is" he said.
"It's the world series of running" said Jeff Fedorko, owner of Lynchburg's Riverside Runners and the race organizer for Virginia's Ten Miler.
The Boston Marathon he says is a national past time; held on Patriot's Day, a Massachusetts state holiday.
The scene undoubtedly for much of the day was one of achievement, triumph, and tradition.
"So for today to end the way it did is truly a tragedy. The sport of running changed forever today" said Fedorko.
He says dozens of runners from the area are still in Boston.
ABC 13 contacted other runners from Lynchburg. All those we spoke with are unharmed.