ATL runners return home from Boston Marathon - CBS46 News

ATL runners return home from Boston Marathon

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

Hundreds of Atlanta area runners who took part in the Boston Marathon returned home on Tuesday, thankful to be alive.

The runners flew in to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on different flights, but they were easy to spot because they were all wearing the bright colors of the Boston Marathon as a sign of respect for the victims.

The runners were scattered throughout the Boston area when the bombs went off. Some of them had already finished, while others were stopped before they got there. They also have their own stories and recollections.

"I heard the explosion and I looked back and saw smoke. Maybe 30 seconds later the second explosion," said Di Sha.

"Just when the runners start thinking, 'Oh I'm going to make it', we were pulled off to the side," said one of the coaches.

And it's the runners who didn't finish that may have had the biggest concerns.

They were safe, but they knew their friends and family were up ahead near the finish line, right where the explosions happened.

"I was extremely concerned. It was the most awful feeling to not be able to get in touch with them," said Carrie Gaudian.

Thankfully, Gaudian learned her family was safe, despite being set up right in between the two explosions.

"When I finally heard my brother's voice on other side of the phone, [pause] I hadn't cried at that point, because I think I was in shock so that was when I lost it," said Gaudian.

That was the feeling of a lot of people on race day and you could see it on their faces.

But some runners said seeing what had actually happened and just how bad it was made things even worse.

"It's just so surreal and scary. Hard to imagine that happened," said one runner.

One thing the runners said helped them make it through was the way Boston residents stepped up in the face of evil.

"Kindness of people who came out to help the runners was incredible," said one of the runners.

Mike Wein was already done with the race, but he saw how the Boston residents stepped up.

"Whether it was the first responders, or the people who were bringing people into their houses that were dazed and freezing, or even the local McDonald's that put up a sign that said runners pay if you have money. It was just amazing how the community reacted," said Wein.

Despite the hospitality, most of the runners said they were happy to be back home with their families after an already emotional trip, turned out to be much more.

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