Lincoln runners react from Boston

By: Bill Schammert

They're the images and sounds that will be etched in our minds forever.  Runners collapsing, gates being blown away amidst giant clouds of smoke.  April 15th, Patriots Day in Boston, now clouded by an unthinkable attack.

Eighty-five Nebraskans, 19 from Lincoln were amongst the 27,000 runners to take part in the Boston Marathon.

“Absolutely the craziest thing I've ever been a part of,” Biff Madsen said.  Madsen's wife Sarah finished just seven minutes before the back-to-back explosions.

Sarah had qualified for her very first Boston Marathon.  She's safe, but Biff says it could've been worse.

“She got a blister about Mile-19 and had to slow down,” her husband told us over the phone.  “She made it just in time, it sounded like the end of a fireworks show, just a great big boom.”

And when they looked back, complete chaos.

“There's tears, there's blood, there's people running in every direction.  There's ambulances and fires everywhere.”

Lincoln student teacher and 22-year-old Claire Aylward also finished shortly before the bombing.  She considers herself lucky.

“What if I had crossed the finish line 30-minutes later?” she said.  “What if I had been in the later wave, you know, just a lot of factors could have been different.”

Brian Harrifeld, 54, was running his 18th marathon and 8th Boston Marathon.  He told us, something like this was always in the back of his mind.

“Things can happen at anytime,” he said.  “It had crossed my mind, that this could be the perfect target, but like people before me, I just never thought it would actually happen.”