Central Illinois runners in Boston for marathon recount horrific experience

By Marshanna Hester

April 15, 2013 Updated Apr 16, 2013 at 9:59 AM CDT

In the blink of an eye, the finish line at the Boston marathon turned into chaos.

"I started to walk and heard an explosion and felt that kind of concussion in the air," said Joy Morris, from Peoria.

Not one, but two blasts rattled the nerves of thousands on hand to see one of the most prestigious races.

Mason City pastor Joe Briseno was a half mile from the finish.

"I thought it was a terrorist attack," said Briseno. "I was in disbelief."

Nearby, about 100 feet from the race's end stood Jenn Blackorby, who was receiving her medal.

She says the loud boom caused confusion, panic and she got separated from her husband.

They were there celebrating their 17th anniversary. An hour later, they reconnected.

"It really just takes the wind right out of your sails to think of people died, people that are presumably evil people that knew this would happen and wanted it to happen, planned for it to happen," Blackorby said. "It's just sad."

As authorities worked to shield others from the danger, medical crews transported the injured to emergency rooms.

Had it been hours before, Peoria native Lauren Fog says it could have been her in harms way.

"I remember as I was finishing the race there was these flags from all the different countries of the world," she said. "I was thinking how I wanted to run past those flags to the finish. And I was watching the news, they were all on the ground torn down. It was kind of shocking to see it all."

Those we spoke to who finished the race say they didn't see anything out of the ordinary at the finish.

All four runners and their families are okay. They say they continue to pray for those whose lives were lost in the bombing.

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