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I was in the viewing stands...

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This story was collected by the Boston Globe in the days immediately following the Boston Marathon Bombing. GlobeLab collected these anonymous stories on the Boston.com website and donated them to the Our Marathon Archive. We are grateful for this contribution, which gives insight into how Bostonians and visitors to the city understood the bombing events in their immediate aftermath.

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I was in the viewing stands across the street from the first blast with my fiance's 6 year old son, cheering and waiting for her to come in. I was looking back up Boylston when something caught my eye across the street. The shock wave hit and it was very powerful. At the same time I heard an impossibly loud boom. I remember thinking they must have rolled out artillery cannons for Patriots Day because it was louder than the regulator cannons they use in the celebrations and reenactments. Then I saw the plume of smoke and heard the screams. Everything went numb and we all stood there, paralyzed. Just typing these words makes my pulse race.

The second explosion snapped me out of it. Everyone cleared out of the bleachers in chaos toward the street but that seemed too exposed to me, and was basically a stampede so I grabbed my fiance's son and pushed him through the gap between the boards of the bleachers so we could get under them. He was petrified and holding on for dear life. I had to pry his hands off the floor board and lower him down to the ground. I squeezed through too and covered him with my body on the ground, covering his eyes and ears with my hands as best I could so he wouldn't see or hear what was going on. I just kept telling him we were safe and going to be okay.

I knew my fiancé had just passed our running club's water stop near the top of heart break hill because a friend from our club had just texted me from there. So I quickly texted "bombs at finish. Stop her". He ran after her and brought her back to the water stop.

I then saw the first responders drag the barricades from across the street toward us and the police started screaming at people to leave the area immediately. So we rolled under the blue fabric wall at the back of the stands and ran out. We took a left down Exeter street past the 18 wheeler media trucks and then ducked into a recessed doorway. By then a fire truck had come flying past us and that triggered a memory that terrorists often time later bombs to detonate after the first responders arrive. So we went into the recessed doorway and stayed there for a little while, hoping the rescuers would be safe. There was an Asian couple already in the doorway with their baby. Their English was choppy but when I said "terrorist" they understood perfectly.

I don't remember hearing the third explosion from the Madnorin. I guess I was in shock and focussing on comforting my little buddy and figuring out how to get us out of there safely. We ended up walking straight to the South End. We could text my fiancé but not talk. She had been hysterically crying back on heart break hill at a time when none of the other runners knew something was wrong. I'm so glad we were able to text. I decided we would walk out of the city, making a wide loop around the back bay on Columbus Ave and Tremont, finally crossing the river at the BU bridge and meeting with my fiancé in Cambridge.

When we got home, I heard reports that there was a bomb under our stands. That really threw me. That was exactly where we took cover. I later learned that was not true. We are okay physically but sleep has been rough despite our exhaustion. Today I learned the adrenaline takes a few days to wear off and it is replaced by depression. I'm not looking forward to that. Still, what we have dealt with can't hold a candle to what the victims and their families have gone through. I feel very fortunate.

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