BOSTON, MASS. - Runners from Eastern Carolina, who raced in the Boston Marathon when the twin bombings erupted, have returned home to talk about their experiences.
Lucien Vaughn, Danielle Ouano and Donald Spingler, all from New Bern, landed at Coastal Carolina Regional Airport Tuesday night. Vaughn said he was a block and a half past the finish line when the first blast erupted just before 3 p.m. Monday, killing three people and injuring more than 170.
"The look on those people's faces was just sheer terror," said Vaughn. "They just knew the end was near and they were just running for their lives."
Vaughn said when he heard the explosions, he stopped dead in his tracks. He said it was his sixth Boston Marathon, one he'll never forget.
"People were running like a stampede, people running falling down, trying to get away as if someone was shooting at them," Vaughn said.
Ouano said the race came to an immediate halt after the explosions, and being from out of town, she didn't know where to go.
"Another woman stopped and she asked me if I needed a blanket. She just handed me a blanket out of her car and said to use it and get warm, just acts of kindness," Ouano said.
Ouano told NewsChannel 12 she even used a stranger's cell phone to call her family in New Bern. She said she is just grateful to be home safe.
Spingler said he had finished 26 miles of the Boston Marathon, and was just two-tenths of a mile away from the finish line when the first explosion occurred.
"Had I been like two minutes faster, I'd probably have been on the street and maybe involved in the whole thing, who knows? I guess by the grace of God," said Spingler.
New Bern resident Karen Greene also participated in the race on Monday, her fifth Boston Marathon. She said she had just finished when the first blast occurred
"I was probably two blocks away from the explosion when it happened and trying to locate my husband was a very scary time," said Greene. "I was actually on the phone with my husband, trying to locate him and I said, 'what was that,' and we both felt the ground shake from where we were."
Greene said the city immediately went on high alert, with the National Guard right outside her hotel room.
"It was just one of those moments when no one knew what had happened and I couldn't see what had happened," she said.
Quinn Woodruff, a dental student at ECU, ran in the marathon as well. He said he was in a taxi, heading back to his hotel with his parents when the blasts occurred.
"[I'm in] kind of in a state of shock, I guess. You know you're happy to finish a marathon, do well, and then you see [the blasts]. It just kind of puts things in perspective," said Woodruff.
Woodruff explained he didn't know what was going on until he noticed multiple missed calls and texts from friends wondering if he was okay. He described the damage at the finish line:
"It looks like some of the seating areas near the finish line are damaged pretty well and all the gates and everything are pretty messed up," he said.