Runners with local ties share stories from Boston

POSTED: 11:24 PM Apr 15 2013   UPDATED: 3:28 PM Apr 15 2013

Runners from our area emailed pictures to our newsroom this evening after the explosions at the Boston Marathon today.

We spoke by phone with several of them who remain in Boston, including a mother from southwest Virginia, a cardiologist from Johnson City and a Bristol native who now lives in California.

Ed Aten was born in Bristol and still has family here, but currently lives in California. He had completed the marathon and was at a friend's apartment a few blocks from the finish line when they heard the first blast, and then the second.

He described by phone Monday evening the chaos and confusion that followed. "We looked out the window and people were running for their lives, spectators were running through the alleys from the course , the runners are running backward on the course," said Aten.

Mother of three, Amy Hamilton of Lebanon, Virginia completed the marathon in 2:57:42.

She crossed the finish line about an hour and 45 minutes before the first blast, but unbeknownst to her, time was ticking and it was slow going clearing the area. "They have railings up, they have volunteers that work on the marathon on either side.  You have to keep walking, you're corralled.  There's gates up on either side so you can't just hop on the sidewalk and walk out," said Hamilton.

Hamilton and her husband made it to the train 30 minutes before the explosions. They learned the news after turning on the TV in their hotel room. "Just devastation, heartbreak, concern for the families. We were just there. Thankful my kids are at home," said Hamilton.

Johnson City cardiologist Doctor Fawwaz Hamati ran in the marathon, too. He made it to mile 25 in the 26.2 mile race when he stopped to help a man lying in the street.

"He said I'm okay, can't go any further. 'You alright you hurt?' No,no, they canceled marathon. 'Why?' There were two bombs," recounted Hamati.

As for the aftermath, Ed Aten painted a picture of the city of Boston Monday evening. "SWAT teams, there are fire trucks, hundreds of police officers, no pedestrians," said Aten.

Now, a race that has become the feather every marathoner wants in their cap is overshadowed by tragedy. "It just kinda puts a damper.  This should be such a fun experience and life changing experience for so many," said Amy Hamilton.

Ed Aten told us he is supposed to fly back to California tomorrow but so far there is no word about flights.

Amy Hamilton can't wait to see her children Wednesday when she returns to the Tri-Cities. She still plans to run the New York Marathon in November.

Dr. Hamati told us, when asked if this meant his last trip to the Boston Marathon, he said, "No sir, that means they've won, I am gonna keep doing it until I am paralyzed or dead."