NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Several Boston Marathon runners from Hampton Roads returned home Tuesday, one day after violent explosions rocked the event's finish line, killing three and wounding dozens.
Keith Alston looked forward to and trained for April 15 for months. He finished the race in just under four hours and was on his way to celebrate when two separate explosions went off near the finish line.
"I just heard the explosions and the first thing I thought about was where my family was because they could have been right there," Alston said.
Alston said he was able to connect with friends in the Hampton Roads area to get details on the tragedy, because he couldn't see any news reports while on the ground.
"You want to ride that high for the next few days but you kind of can't do that because of all that happened," Alston said. "We're not going to let this bring us down. I'm going to go back, you know, I'm going to train hard and figure out a way to get back to Boston."
Runner Sam Wittenberg also plans to return for next year's marathon despite what happened this year.
"This is a sick anomaly not a pattern," Wittenberg said. "If I'm able to, I'll be there without hesitation"
He finished at 3:53 on the race clock before the blast happened at 4:09.
WAVY.com caught up with Wittenberg and his wife Laurie at the Norfolk airport Tuesday as they returned from Boston.
"There were two blasts in succession. Smoke that just didn't look right. One plume went up vertically and another horizontally. You start seeing the flashing lights of all the area response vehicles. That was the first sign that something was not right. You kept thinking, 'Man I hope this is a sewer line or something like that,' but in the back of our minds, 'Oh I hope this wasn't a bomb,'" Wittenberg said.
He said for thousands of runners who were there Monday, they'll always have the joy of the accomplishment, and likewise the memory of what happened on that day.
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