Locals close to the finish line speak out about Boston

POSTED: 07:07 PM PDT Apr 16, 2013    UPDATED: 07:09 PM PDT Apr 16, 2013 
PALM DESERT, Calif. -

Eduardo Herrada left Desert Hot Springs to cross the coast and run his third marathon.

"I heard the bomb and I thought it was fireworks," he said.

In the wake of chaos, he told us he wanted to help, but couldn't.

"After a marathon, you cannot walk very good. I thought if I ran, I could get injured and fall in the middle of the street," Herrada said.

Timing surrounding the tragedy stands out to Eduardo, who finished 30 minutes before the first bomb exploded. At last minute, his group number got changed.  
 
"If I had started in group two, maybe I would have faced the problem immediately. Twenty minutes difference," Herrada said.
 
Timing also played a role in Sasha Spite's story. She grew up in Palm Desert and now attends Boston University. She and her sister walked toward the finish line when, "We just saw a bunch of people coming in the opposite direction yelling to get inside. Then you didn't hear any people, you just heard sirens," she said.

Now, one day later, she says she hears a quiet calm, but the Boston bombings remain on many people's minds.

"We all had a big assignment due and our Professor told us we have more pressing matters in wake of what happened. We did a quick moment of silence, and our professor let us know resources on campus if we felt we needed to speak to anybody," Spite said.

Because Sasha said a Boston University student got critically injured, the bombings will haunt her -- most likely forever. Eduardo said all you really can do is move forward, a better person.
 
"When something like this happens but you are not affected, you continue. 'I don't care because my relatives didn't suffer.' This is something we have to change from this moment on," Herrada said.

Eduardo returned safely to the desert, and to his family, not physically changed, but changed. He said he will run his next planned marathon.

"The message is that it's not your time and you have to continue because He has your time, we don't know. We have to wake up and try to be more united," he said.