Peggy Lane found her sister runner Phyllis Perkins after what felt like a long search. Lane walked with her arm around a shivering and shaken Perkins.
Perkins said she was coming around the bend to the finish line when she heard the explosion. Initially she thought it was just part of the festivities for runners reaching the finish line.
"I thought it was part if the celebration," said the first-time Boston Marathon runner.
Then she saw the smoke and heard the second blast.
There was confusion and people running and ducking, Perkins said.
She never finished the race.
Kathleen Chrisom was grabbing lunch at the nearby Turner Fishery with her daughter and a co-worker from Conventures, a private event organizer, when she felt the tremor of the explosion. She saw police running and knew something was wrong.
Chrisom who has helped with the marathon for 25 years said at least medical personnel and some ambulances were already in place to help the injured.
"It's a stain on this city and this event," Chrisom said. "It's sad for this city and this event."
Some runners though said they appreciated the help from spectators, who lent them cellphones along the course to call their families.
Canadian runner Mike Guidon said he appreciated how calmly organizers got people to stop the race and get out of the way.
"These guys have done a fantastic job," Guidon said Tuesday evening after he picked up his yellow race bag with his belongings and cellphone that he had left at the start line hours ago . Then he walked away to call his family.