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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Two local runners who were caught in the midst of the terror that struck the Boston marathon have returned home to Louisville.
In retrospect, Andrea Faulk says she never thought she could be right in the heart of a national tragedy.
"I thought it was maybe a transformer, something mechanical, you just never really think it will happen to you -- that you could be in an event where something national is occurring," explained Faulk.
Ashli Collins also had to face the tragedy that played out as runners crossed the finish line of the marathon.
"And then all the cops started running and there were people crying and hiding under trucks," said Collins as she recounted the aftermath.
It took 12 seconds for Faulk and Collins to sort through the haze and chaos and realize what they'd seen near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
"I think it became real when cops started running. When you saw them talking on their speakers and kind of high-tailing it the other way. I got to Andrea and said we need to go," said Collins.
There were 12 seconds between the first and second blasts.
Although many were not able to use their cell phones, Collins was lucky enough to contact her family just after the blast.
"I immediately text messaged my ex-husband and said I think a bomb just went off and then text messaged my kids: you need to get back to the hotel now," said Collins.
The friends from Crestwood just narrowly escaped the explosions, both crossing the finish line just about 20 minutes before.
They were about a block away as it happened, picking up medals, blankets and snacks after the 26.2 mile race.
"Your heart goes out to everyone affect by it. Yes, we were there but we were extremely fortunate," said Faulk.
Latest reports show three people died and more than were 150 injured.
"When we first made it back to our hotel, we could go back in, but by the time we went back out to try and find food, they had roped all exits and entrances except one," explained Collins "And you had to show ID to get in and out."
The ladies wore their marathon shirts back to Louisville, saying it brought on second looks throughout the airports.
They now stand in a rare class, but not of runners. Instead, they are among the few who have witnessed terror on American land.
"You were part of history today. Not good history. Not history that I want to relive. You saw something very catastrophic to the whole world happen today," said Collins "And it's something you need to step back and think about, and think how fortunate we are to be OK."