PALM DESERT, Calif. - "For a runner, it is the mecca of running. Every long distance runner aspires to run 'boston,'" runner Alan Woodruff said.
For 23 thousand runners, the long awaited event will now be clouded in devastation and terror. For spectators, too, because the horror came about four hours into the race.
"By that time, the running crowd is pretty thinned out but the spectators, that's really where the tragedy lies because it's so thick with people," Woodruff said.
"I know that they are 15-20 deep at the finish line at the marathon spectators at either side watching the marathon. The stands are right there where they have the dignitaries," runner and coach Vic Gainer said.
We talked to runners who say this tragedy stopped them in their tracks.
"It's one of those things that's hollow ground. You would not think in your wildest fantasy that a race of this magnitude with this type of a positive impact in the world would be grounds or something of this nature," Woodruff said.
Vic gainer ran Boston eight times, and now coaches Eduardo Herrado.
Eduardo traveled to Boston to run the marathon - all the way from Desert Hot Springs.
He posted on his Facebook that he is safe, and his cousins then posted that on our Facebook, informing us.
"I am happy in one sense that he got the chance to qualify and run Boston because it's special for runners," Gainer said.
Palm Springs mayor Steve Pougnet ran the Boston Marathon four times.
"Knowing I've crossed that finish line in Boston several times, and seeing runners go down right before the finish is heartbreaking," he said.
In just days, he will lead the 2nd Annual Mayors 'Healthy Planet, Healthy You' 1k, 5k, and 7 mile race.
"We over-staff for our events. I've been in contact with the police department today. There is certainly no doubt that there will be enough security at our race on saturday morning," Pougnet said.
Still, he knows people are shaken. In addition to normal security, "We are taking a look at having a bomb sniffing dog at the airports. We're going to have 500 people together. Thats something the city manager and I are discussing," he said.
"We are not going to let these people change our lifestyle. We are going to live life," Gainer said.
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