Runners and their supporters left Raleigh for the Boston Marathon with hope and excitement, but as they return to the Triangle, they bring back much different memories than expected.
Annette Taylor was at the race to support and photograph her brother. She was in a restaurant during the blast and afterward approached a firefighter to ask what happened.
"He said, ‘You need to get out. There's multiple bombings and people have lost limbs.' He was covered with blood. So, we just walked as fast as we could to an area away from where we were."
Marsha Kouba crossed the finish line just two minutes before the explosions.
"You just wonder why would somebody target the Boston Marathon? There's not anything political about it. It just doesn't make any sense," she said.
Kelly Barnaby was at the start of the race, working the marathon as her family has for years.
"We were prepared for emergencies. We had emergency plans, but we never thought we'd use them or anything like that," she said.
Now, there are mixed feelings about next year.
"It makes me want to run even more. I don't know if I'll go back to Boston anytime real soon, but it certainly doesn't slow me down," Kouba said.
"I was actually thinking about training for a marathon next year, so I don't know if I would do it now just because of what happened," said Nicole Baisden, who was in Boston supporting friends who ran.
With the future uncertain, many are even more thankful now for the present.
"It could have been us very easily as it was somebody else. It's just a state of shock, disbelief, but blessings that we're safe, together and now back home," said Jessica Kouba.