NEW BERN. CRAVEN COUNTY - Danielle Ouano and Donald Spingler have a few things in common.
They both live in New Bern, they both are athletic, they both will be running in the 2014 Boston Marathon, and they both were at last year's Boston Marathon when tragedy struck.
Ouano and Spingler were both runners in the 2013 Boston Marathon when bombs went off at the finish line. Both of the runners were in the 25th mile of the 26.2 mile run, and were minutes away from the finish line.
"I just kind of felt like I was in a war zone," Ouano said. "It was just very scary not knowing what was going on and not being able to find my way in a city where I didn't know where I was. It was very scary, it was one of the scariest things I've been through."
Ouano was not injured but saw the aftermath of security as she approached the finish line. She had no clue what was going on until she approached the end of the race.
"That's where everything fell a part, when we were told the race was over, that we weren't going on, and that there were two bombs at the finish line," Ouano said. " All the police blocking off all the streets not letting anybody into the area."
That was Ouano's first time at the Boston Marathon, but she said she will be returning. Ouano attended the race last year as a part of the Project Hope organization, a group that helps single mothers who are on public assistance to get back on their feet. This year, Ouano is attending the marathon again as a part of the organization. She has raised $3,000 and her organization has passed their goal of $250,000.
Spingler says he remembers the aftermath of the explosion, and says if he had been two minutes faster, he would have been impacted by the blasts.
"There's a lot of hysteria, people walking around, looking dazed, not knowing what's going on there was just a lot of confusion and a lot of blood," Spingler said. "If I been ahead two more minutes, I would have been right opposite to the blast."
Spingler is running in this year's race out of sport. This will be his fifth Boston Marathon and he looks forward to completing it.
This year's marathon is expected to be the second largest, drawing in 36,000 runners. It will be held on Monday, April 21st.
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