BOSTON -- Brentwood resident Megan Faulkner was "teary," she said, as she gathered with her husband, her children, and her parents after completing the Boston Marathon, only her fourth such race.
She ran the race in tribute to her father, who turned 80 this year, and she was emotional as she stood with him in the family meeting area, about half a mile from the finish line, she said. As the group stood together, a pair of explosions went off, killing at least two people and injuring scores more.
Faulkner, a teacher at Marsh Creek Elementary School in Brentwood, and her family were unhurt.
"It's just very somber," Faulkner said via phone less than two hours after the explosions, as she and her family made their way out of the area and back to their hotel. "We saw a lot of people right away, and it was really calm. People are just trying to get out of the downtown area. We're still seeing emergency vehicles making their way to the scene."
Faulkner said the explosions shook the ground, but that people around her did not immediately understand what was unfolding.
"We were unsure at first exactly what happened, but then all of our friends started texting us to make sure we were OK," she said. "The transit is closed underground, and you just have people kind of wandering around and trying to figure out where to go or what they should do."
Faulkner said nothing gave warning of the chaos that ensued.
"It was a gorgeous day. Great weather, great atmosphere," she said. "It was just a great day. Then this happened. No warning whatsoever."
She gave credit to the people of Boston, who she said went out of their way to help guide her family and others as they tried to find their way in the aftermath of the explosions.
"I was very thankful that we weren't there (at the scene of the explosions)," she said. "I told my kids you think about the families (of those injured) ... and all the volunteers and all the medical help."
Pleasanton resident Nancy Morehead finished the race four minutes before the first explosion took place.
"I heard it and I felt it. It shook the ground," said Morehead. "I wasn't very far past the finish line and I turned around and saw the big cloud and all I could think was, 'Just keep moving.' Then the second one went off. I just kept walking."
Morehead, who works as an analyst for East Bay Regional Parks Police, said the first explosion was so loud, she expected to see a building collapse.
Instead, she said, she saw a huge puff of smoke encompass the street.
Her cousin, Lynn Olavarri, of Scotts Valley, finished ahead of her in the race and was concerned about Morehead, she said, because she knew her average time would be around four hours and 10 minutes.
Morehead finished at four hours and five minutes.
The first bomb exploded four minutes later.
Thankfully, she said, she finished faster than expected.
"Luckily, I continued to push toward the end even though my calf was cramping and I thought about slowing down," she said of her 43rd marathon race. "I am very thankful that I didn't."