Allyson Manchester, 24
I crossed the finish line at 2:44 p.m. and then things happened four minutes later. I got my medal, and literally as soon as I put it on, the first explosion went off about 30 yards away from me. I already wasn’t thinking coherently because I just finished running and I also couldn’t move very quickly. But it was just chaos. But I was able to find my family and we got out of the area as quickly as possible …When you think about a marathon and how little time four minutes breaks down to, that’s only a few seconds per mile. What if I had stopped to go to the bathroom? I had a lot of friends along the course, what if I had stopped to talk to them? It was the most extreme juxtaposition of emotions. Going from the agonizing last few miles up Beacon Street and not thinking I could make it—and then crossing the finish line and bursting into tears and hugging my family. I was ecstatic. And just transitioning so quickly to being in horror. And not knowing how to get out or if I was running in the right direction, or if I was running into another bomb.
—As told to Boston magazine. Photo by Scott M. Lacey