Posted at: 04/16/2013 6:11 PM
Updated at: 04/16/2013 6:12 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Among the many thousands of runners who participated in the Boston Marathon, 80 traveled from New Mexico and about 50 from Albuquerque.
KOB Eyewitness News 4 was the first to speak with those returning from Boston Tuesday.
After running, or supporting those who ran 26.2 miles in the Boston Marathon, disaster was the last thing anyone expected to see at the finish line.
"First thought was terrorism," Nan Lincoln, who was about a block away from the explosions, said.
Johnathan Mattarocchi, who was on the side-lines supporting his friends, described the horrific scene.
"People, unfortunately missing limbs, their clothes blown off." Mattarocchi said.
"It gave you that sense... it was an eerie, eerie feeling," Gale Anderson, who was nearby, said.
Albuquerque runner Betsy Sutton said the medal she returned home with Tuesday is bittersweet. She had just received it when she heard the first explosion.
"It was a humongous boom," Sutton said.
Then, just after the first boom, she heard a second.
"You could hear like a rumble later, like it was rubble or things falling apart," Sutton said. "Immediately, it just became a big catastrophe."
"It sounded like a bomb," Mattarocchi said. "But I was trying to stay calm because all my friends were freaking out, panicking, so I was helping them get out."
Beth McHugh said she was at the finish line, supporting her brother who was running in the marathon.
"I was right at the barricade with my camera poised and ready to take some pictures, and when all hell broke loose, I didn't know where he was at the time," McHugh said.
But despite the chaos and unexpected tragedy, there is a sense of empowerment among runners like Sutton that nothing, not even an act of terrorism, can shake.
"I would not let fear stop me from doing anything I want to do," Sutton said.
"A lot of them said they'd be back next year to run that race again, and didn't want to give up their freedom," Anderson said.
"The runners were wearing their marathon gear, they were determined, they're committed to this event, it will be back in a bigger way," McHugh said.
While Monday's events reminded many people of 9/11, none of the people who spoke with KOB said they were hesitant to fly, adding there was more visible security at the airport in Boston. At the Sunport, more canines and officers were also seen patrolling the area Tuesday.