Richfield, OH (WJW-CNN) — Nearing the finish of her third Boston Marathon, about 1/8th of a mile from the finish line, Pamela Goldfarb of Richfield was having what she called a "bad race on Monday."
"Normally no matter how bad of a race I'm having, I would never really walk any of the last few miles but I'm glad I did because the timing of it put me on Boylston (street) as the first explosion went off and then you didn't know really what was going on," Goldfarb told FOX 8 by phone afterwards.
"From the first- the smoke went billowing and the second went off. After that and the smoke is billowing from that and that's when I thought- this is not right," said Goldfarb.
"Runners were still heading toward the finish line when the second explosion went off and then you knew something was definitely wrong; so we all turned around and headed the opposite way. Then prior to turning around, a spectator was in like the runner area and had like cuts on his face, and we definitely knew something was wrong," added Goldfarb, who says she runs without a cell phone and had only a few dollars with her.
Goldfarb said her husband was waiting for her in the family waiting area, but she had to ask to borrow cell phones from strangers to try and contact him.
"The scariest part is being out there with nothing; you don't have any way to contact anyone in a world that is in constant contact," she said.
Cell phones were not working well but Goldfarb says she was eventually able to text her husband and find out that both of them were okay.
Amidst the chaos, she said they made plans to meet at their hotel.
"I was standing in front of the convention center and thought I would just go in the convention center and then the police started screaming get out of the building, get out of the building; so I got out of the building," said Goldfarb.
"Every way I tried to go, I was diverted by police. I tried to cut through the mall. They told us we had to get out of the mall. I tried to cut in front of the Mariott and take the walkway that connects the motels to the mall and that was closed with the police yelling get out of the area, get out of the area; you cannot be here."
Now cold and wearing only what she was running in, Goldfarb said two strangers offered her and another woman their shirts to try and help keep them warm.
Two hours passed before she was able to finally meet up with her husband.
"The scary part is, these kind of events you never dream of any of this happening. You are here to have a great time with your fellow runners, your loved ones and have a fun little getaway weekend; and then all of a sudden you're standing, you never think there would be a bomb at the finish line," said Goldfarb.
"Like everyone was in a daze going, what was that? But your head doesn't go there. It doesn't think 'oh there's an explosion and people are injured and there's a terrorist act or something, some sort of criminal act they are calling it at the finish line of some joyous weekend in Boston.' It is very, very unnerving."
Goldfarb, who works at the Vertical Runner store in Brecksville, said most of the local runners she knew who were in Boston had already crossed the finish line well before the explosions.
"I don't know personally anyone who is injured but my heart goes out to all of these people," she concluded.