Cara Bednar, 27
As I took a right on Hereford and a left on Boylston, I gave all I had for the last 800 meters. I had battled stomach cramps the whole race and was beyond ecstatic to be near that glorious finish.
My sister by my side, I crossed the line in 3:50 minutes. She was taking my picture when we heard a cannon-like sound. We both thought perhaps it was a cannon celebrating the 4 hour marathon mark—a time people struggle to break—or perhaps a special athlete was crossing. I can say never in my whole life did I imagine it was a bomb and people would be running for their lives. I had just run 26.2 miles and was ready to run again. I had no idea where my family was, only that they were walking toward me, toward the blast. It was the worst, most horrific 15 minutes of my life. I couldn’t think, could barely speak, but luckily could run.
—As told to Boston magazine. Photo by Scott M. Lacey