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North Texans Finished Boston Marathon Minutes Before Blasts

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BOSTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The first Boston Marathon for North Texan Paul Hudson turned out to be a life-changing experience. Hudson crossed the finish line at 4 hours, 8 minutes and was less than 200 yards away from where the first bomb went off.

“Everybody buckled their knees a little bit and turned around to see all the smoke and within seconds you see the second one go off right behind it,” said Hudson.

Two bombs rocked the crowded streets near the marathon finish line on Monday, killing at least three people, including an 8-year-old boy. More than 130 people were injured in the bloody scene, at least 15 of them critically.

Hudson traveled to Boston with a group of runners from Luke’s Locker in Colleyville. His first thoughts were how to get in touch with his family who was watching the race.

“I took off running for (my cell phone) to get that because my wife and my oldest son was watching and I had no idea if they were in the grandstands.”

Within 45 minutes, Hudson was able to find his cell phone and confirm his family and running buddies were all okay. Many of the North Texans CBS 11 spoke with described difficulty making phone calls or sending text messages after the explosions. However, Hudson says, despite the chaos in the moments following the two explosions, the Boston Police Department acted quickly and efficiently.

“They had a plan,” said Hudson. “They busted open those retaining gates and told everybody, ‘Out of this area as quick as you can.’ It couldn’t have been conducted any better than it was.”

Hudson is one of 911 Texas runners listed on The Boston Athletic Association website, which tracks hometowns and results for marathon runners. SMU professor Diana Grumbles is another. She says she finished the race about four minutes before the explosions.

SMU Professor Diana Grumbles was one of more than 900 Texans to participate in the Boston Marathon.  (credit: SMU)

SMU Professor Diana Grumbles was one of more than 900 Texans to participate in the Boston Marathon. (credit: SMU)

“I’m just in a state of shock because for me it was a moment of triumph. I lifted my arms up in the air. The little victory signal there at the finish line. It was such a sweet moment,” explained Grumbles, who said the mood completely changed after she heard the two explosions.

“When we heard the blasts, my son was up there spectating and I didn’t know exactly where he was. I just knew he was somewhere in the area of the finish line.” Grumbles was later reunited with her son at their hotel.

As many as two unexploded bombs were also found near the end of the 26.2-mile course as part of what appeared to be a well-coordinated attack, but they were safely disarmed, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation. As the FBI took charge of the investigation, authorities shed no light on a motive or who may have carried out the bombings, and police said they had no suspects in custody. Officials in Washington said there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Texas Governor Rick Perry released the following statement regarding the Boston Marathon explosions:

“The scene at the Boston Marathon today is a sobering vision for us all, especially those who have friends or loved ones competing in today’s race. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those injured in the explosions, along with the first responders who braved danger to help get the wounded to safety.”

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