By JOSH AULT6 News Reporter
MARYVILLE (WATE) - Several local runners who participated in the Boston Marathon started to arrive back in Knoxville Tuesday.
Many were very close to where the bombs went off during the attack.
Jim Stringham, of Maryville, returned back home Tuesday morning. It was his second time running the Boston Marathon.
"I had finished the race," said Stringham. "I was making my way through the participants' area to the family meeting area, and we heard a very large explosion, rattled the windows."Stringham says right after the explosion, he went back to his hotel.
"From our hotel room, we were able to see the triage site," said Stringham. "I can't even begin to count the number of ambulances and fire trucks in the area."Two other runners from Maryville, Dr. Charlie Raper and Paul Horton, flew back to Knoxville Tuesday afternoon.
This was Dr. Raper's ninth Boston Marathon.
"I was a half mile from where the bombs went off," said Dr. Raper. "Probably five or six minutes away."Paul Horton had already finished the race and was on his way to meet Dr. Raper at the finish line.
"I did hear the explosions," said Horton. "I heard them go off. It was very loud. I was two blocks away."They say Tuesday morning people were still stunned, and the atmosphere in Boston was surreal. "As we checked out of our hotel, there were soldiers in fatigues with automatic rifles in our hotel," said Dr. Raper.All of the runners 6 News spoke with said Monday's tragic events at the Boston Marathon are not going to keep them from running. "I was planning on not running another marathon, but it kind of upset me a little bit," said Stringham. "I may have to get in shape and run another one, just to show they can't stop us."