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Kentuckians in Boston Marathon: 'It was surreal'

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - We've learned 50 people from Kentucky ran in Monday's Boston Marathon, and a few of them tell us that they were very close to harm's way at the time of the explosions.

They know exactly where they were when chaos erupted.

"I was somewhere between a quarter mile and a half mile away from the finish line which is where the explosions occurred," said Jessica Knapp-Ziegler, a runner from Lexington.

"I was about four miles away or five miles away from the finish line, and I was getting phone calls," said Dr. Ron Dubin, an orthopedic surgeon from Middlesboro.

"We were sitting here and talking for a few minutes in the hotel, and we hear a loud boom and then we hear a louder boom," said Brian Hancock, a senior student at the University of Kentucky who was running in the marathon.

These Kentuckians had already finished the race but that didn't spare them from experiencing what happened as others crossed the finish line after them.

"As I continued to walk, there was more concern and sadness and everybody was trying to get bits and pieces of information from everybody else," said Knapp-Ziegler.

"We saw some smoke coming up and then we saw people running in the street, heard sirens, and still weren't sure what happened," said Hancock.

It's not a memory they expected to take back to Kentucky. Even qualifying to run in the Boston Marathon is a dream for avid runners, but it quickly turned into a nightmare.

"It's almost unreal and definitely surreal that it happened so close to where we were," said Hancock.

And the guilt is running deep for these competitors, knowing those who kept them going were the ones injured and killed.

"The marathon is special because it's not just about the runners. It's about the people who support the runners," said Knapp-Ziegler. "So yeah, it's extremely sad as a runner to know that those people who are just there to support you have been hurt."

We talked to Varinka Ensminger, a captain with the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness team, who also ran in the Boston Marathon. She tells us she was about a half mile from the finish line when she heard about the explosions.

We've also learned several Louisville runners are safe as well. The group includes the 2012 Boston Marathon winner.


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