Redding residents Betty Thomas, 62, and Sue MacDonald, 61, traveled to Boston to run the marathon together. Both of them had only just finished when tragedy struck.
"After the race they hand out space blankets and water and I had just gotten to the water when I heard an explosion," MacDonald said. "I turned around and I saw this huge plume of smoke."
MacDonald said before she crossed the finish line, she had been waiting for Thomas, who she could not find.
"I was waiting and waiting and then I figured I had probably missed her because the time was 04:04:00 or something," MacDonald said.
MacDonald crossed the finish line and made her way to where water was being handed out and heard what she thought was a bomb, then saw smoke. She said she couldn't really see what else was going on because of the mass of people.
Betty Thomas, meanwhile, had also finished the race about four or five minutes before the explosion. She had been getting a space blanket when she heard the same loud boom.
Thomas and MacDonald said the scene was frightening, even after they left the marathon.
"It was hard to get back to the hotel," Thomas said, "You go through a mall to get to our hotel and stores are closed, people are evacuated. We were on an overpass and there's people shouting, 'Everybody get off the overpass!' It was pretty scary."
There were at least two-dozen runners from the Northstate in Boston for the marathon.