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Runners, residents with Sewickley Valley ties describe scene of Boston explosions

| Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 10:30 a.m.
REUTERS
Police and runners react to an explosion during the Boston Marathon finish area in Boston, Massachusetts, April 15, 2013. Two simultaneous explosions ripped through the crowd at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing two people and injuring dozens on a day when tens of thousands of people pack the streets to watch the world famous race.
REUTERS
The scene of multiple explosions near the end of the Boston Marathon finish line in Boston, Massachusetts April 15, 2013. Two explosions hit the Boston Marathon as runners crossed the finish line on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring 23 on a day when tens of thousands of people pack the streets to watch one of the world's best known marathons.
Getty Images
A man is loaded into an ambulance after he was injured by one of two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon near Copley Square on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Two people are confirmed dead and at least 23 injured after two explosions went off near the finish line to the marathon.
Kristina Serafini
Local runner John Paul poses for a photo at his Edgeworth home Saturday, April 6, 2013. Paul participated in the Boston Marathon April 15 but had to drop out after mile 10 due to a hip injury.
Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.
Injured people and debris lie on the sidewalk near the Boston Marathon finish line following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.
In this photo provided by The Daily Free Press and Kenshin Okubo, people react to an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts.

John Paul suffered a running injury around mile 10 and never made it to the finish line near Copley Square.

His daughter, Caroline, was stopped with five miles left to run.

Emily Kobak was standing outside of Fenway Park when she heard explosions happen about one mile from her.

They were among dozens of Western Pennsylvanians who had close encounters on Monday as two explosions detonated near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon.

“We heard the two explosions and didn't think much of it at first,” said Kobak, 30, who grew up in Moon.

“Then we started getting text messages, asking us if we were OK. We overheard someone in line say there was an explosion. We didn't think it was a bomb.”

Kobak, who now lives in Waltham, Mass., was leaving a Boston Red Sox game, heading toward a nearby restaurant when the explosions happened just before 3 p.m. Monday.

“The area around Fenway Park wasn't as panic-stricken as it was near the finish line, but people definitely were scared,” Kobak said.

Police stopped thousands of runners on a bridge about five miles from the finish line after the blasts, said Paul, 58, of Edgeworth, whose daughter, Caroline, was among those stopped.

“This occurred well after the elite” runners would have finished, Paul said.

“This was when the average-Joe runners would have been getting to the finish line.”

Paul was running the race with his daughter for the third time, but had to drop out after 10 miles because of a hip injury.

Paul was one of eight runners in the Sewickley and Moon areas to participate in Monday's marathon.

Kobak, who said she was in the Boylston Street area Monday morning, called the attack an “eye-opening experience.

“I know the streets. I know the area. It's unbelievable.

“For something to happen on such a positive day, it's just a tragedy.”

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com. Staff writer David Conti contributed to this report.

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