Only 30 minutes after crossing the finish line, Eduardo Herrada, of Desert Hot Springs, watched the tragedy unfold at the Boston Marathon on Monday when two explosions unleashed chaos, killing at least three people and injuring 176 more.
"I honestly thought it was fireworks. It was a holiday in Boston. I couldn't imagine it was a bomb. One minute, two minutes later, people started running and they were scared." said Herrada.
Just one day after the race, Herrada, 32, is safe and back home in the Coachella Valley. He was welcomed with hugs of relief from his cousin Ernesto.
The Venezuelan native completed his third marathon in 3 hours and 26 minutes.
He says he was hardly able to walk after the race so he sat down and talked to his mom on the phone and waited for a friend about a block away from where the bombs went off. Herrada says all he could do was stay calm and get to safety after the explosions.
The father of a 2-year-old girl reached out to friends and family through Facebook to let them know he was OK.
He says he's happy to be alive and well, but his emotions are unsettling.
"It was a sad experience. I achieved my goal, but I feel very sad. It's not the way I wanted the marathon to end," said Herrada.
It was the marathon Herrada and others qualified for last year in Miami, but for many it became a race for their lives.
"I'm safe but there are people who died or were hurt, they have another story to tell," he said.
Eduardo assures his race isn't over yet.
"I'm going to keep training because it's my passion. Sports is my passion," he said.
The runner says he plans to work and train hard to afford a ticket to his next marathon.