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Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 10:20pm
For most people, running the Boston Marathon is a huge accomplishment -- one worth celebrating.
El Paso residents, Larisa Pitchkolan and Lorraine Maiella crossed the finish line early and were relaxing inside a cafe less than a block away from the finish line when they heard a loud boom. They initially thought it was the sound of cannons fired to celebrate Patriots Day.
"We had no idea and it was really just more our friends and family in El Paso knew more before we did," said Pitchkolan.
But Larisa and her running club soon realized the explosions weren't meant for cheer.
"When it first happened, we were in shock. We didn't know what it was and then we saw the smoke, but then, when we saw people running, it was chaos, then we knew something seriously had happened," said Maiella.
"We realized something was wrong because we started hearing a bunch of sirens, police, they started saying the T-line , the subway was closed," said Pitchkolan.
Larisa and Lorraine hurried back to the apartment they were staying at, just a block away from where two bombs exploded at the event.
"It was a senseless act. There were spectators cheering on runners, and that's dear to us because without spectators, we don't run," said Maiella.
While hundreds of people were injured by the blasts, no one from the Borderland was hurt.
Soon after the deadly attacks, both women began their journey back home to El Paso. Tired from a long day of traveling, they stopped to share their story with us at the airport.
"I'm happy to be back home. I'm happy. I missed the kids," said Pitchkolan.
"Ecstatic to be back home. It was hard getting here but my family's here and they greeted me, so I am just happy," said Maiella.
Larissa Pitchkolan says her husband plans to run the marathon next year so she will be there to support him, and hopes this week's tragedy doesn't stop people from participating.