Hundreds of runners from Wisconsin are in Boston.
According to the official Boston Marathon website, 444 runners were registered from Wisconsin.
Rick Fossen and Matt Thomas from Minocqua had finished the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon when the two blasts happened. Thomas was nearby.
"It blew the barricades and people out into the marathon course," said Thomas. "You've never seen people scatter so quickly in your life."
Fossen was a few blocks away.
"We could hear it, a loud explosion, and saw a lot of smoke," he said.
The two had run the Boston Marathon several times before, but they never imagined it would end in terror.
"It reminded me of that footage of 9/11, you just saw people just running away," said Fossen.
"This one guy came by and he basically had what looked like jeans on but they had been blown all off," said Thomas. "It was like you could see his underwear, you could see his whole leg."
Fossen and Thomas talked to Newsline 9 from their hotel room Monday evening where they were on lock down-- a surreal scene.
Krista Krenz of Stevens Point also ran the race. She had finished it and was on her way back to the hotel when the blasts occurred. She described her feelings about it.
"Just, you know, disappointed that something like that would happen," said Krenz. "Shocked and concerned for, you know, all the people that were affected by it."
Krenz said she feels a sense of gratitude for being able to avoid tragedy.
"We're all very grateful and happy that we'd finished and got out of there," she said, adding that it "gives you more of a sense of what's really important in life."
Now, post-marathon celebrations are on hold as these runners come to terms with what they've been through, and ponder what the future will hold for one of their favorite events.
"We'll be back, I think, if they have a marathon," said Matt Thomas. "If we can bring ourselves to do it again."
Newsline 9 searched the Boston Marathon website and found more than a dozen runners from north-central Wisconsin:
Hazelhurst – 1
Marshfield – 2
Minocqua – 2
Plover – 1
Shawano – 1
Stevens Point – 3
Waupaca – 2
Wausau – 2
Weston – 1
Photo credit: Rick Fossen
1908 Grand Avenue, Wausau, WI 54403
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