Washington runners recount terror of Boston Marathon blast

A Lake Stevens man who was just steps from the finish line in the Boston Marathon said he thought he was going to die as an explosion went off.

The video above shows Bill Iffrig, 78, crumbling to the ground as the first blast detonates. He told The Seattle Times, "The force from it just turned my whole body to jelly and I went down," Iffrig said. "I thought, 'This is probably it for me.'"

Iffrig was able to stand back up and finish the race at 2:50 p.m. His time was 04:03:47.

According to the race website, 527 people from Washington were registered to run in the Boston Marathon Monday. As many as 132 of those are from Seattle.

At least three people were killed and over 100 people were injured in a terrorist attack at the finish line.

"It was definitely a bomb," Snohomish runner Patti Crookshank told KIRO Radio's Ron and Don Show. Crookshank had finished the race and was about a block ahead of the blasts. "It was an explosion where your hair kind of blew in the back and everybody kind of felt it. My instincts were 'where is the next explosion going to be'," she said.

Crookshank said a friend finishing two minutes behind her saw the explosion. "He was very disturbed by it and he's a physician."

The American Red Cross has a website to search for your loved one. Google has also set up a "person finder" tool.

Jason Campbell, of Seattle, was near the finish line when the blasts went off. He told KIRO Radio's Dori Monson Show they had just walked past the flag of nations area along the course.

"We were about a block away when we heard two loud booms."

At first, Campbell said, he thought the booms were from cannons he heard earlier in the day for Patriots Day.

"It was definitely much louder than that. I think within seconds, we saw these police officers looking right in our faces, saying 'get away from the area.'"

Campbell said the street was chaotic after the two explosions.

"All of the sudden there were just tons and tons of people running away from where we just were," he said. "So we joined in, and just started running."

"Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and the people of Boston," said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. "We are monitoring the situation."

Listen: Seattle runners share first hand account of Boston Marathon explosions

Seattle runner Jessica Smith had already finished the race and was on her way back to her hotel when she heard the explosions from the finishing area. She told The Dori Monson Show she feels very lucky she wasn't caught in the blast.

"It's very packed. The streets are filled with people," she said. But it wasn't until she got on the subway that she learned what happened.

The same thing happened to University of Washington graduate student Carol Xu, also running her first Boston Marathon. Xu told Dori she had just completed the race and was changing out of her sweaty clothes when the blasts sounded.

"There was no immediate reaction so I guess a lot of people thought it was no big deal."

Xu said she thought it was fireworks, and never imagined it could be bombs until word started spreading about what happened.

"I just can't figure out why somebody would do that," she said.

Related:

Boston Marathon explosions prompt extra patrols in Seattle
2 killed as 2 bombs explode at Boston Marathon
Photos from the scene in Boston
Listen: Former 710 ESPN host Mike Salk from Boston on Marathon explosions


Stephanie Klein, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Stephanie joined the MyNorthwest.com team in February 2008. She has built the site into a two-time National Edward R. Murrow Award winner (Best Radio Website 2010, 2012).
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