Authorities said that more than 170 people were injured and three people were killed, including an 8-year-old boy, after two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon.
Marathon Monday, typically the biggest celebration in Boston, is now a day marred by tragedy.
Channel 2 Action News has crews in Boston, where 363 Georgians were registered for the race, which had 23,000 participants, officials said.
Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh spoke to Brett Alison from Brookhaven. He crossed the finish line less than half an hour before the blast.
"It's surreal with it happening on Patriot’s Day, and it means a lot for the city itself and the country," Alison said.
Alison, like all race finishers, received his marathon jacket and medal, gifts that now take on a whole new meaning.
Kavanaugh also spoke to the manager of an abandoned restaurant on Newbury Street, just one block from the explosion sites.
“I’ve been here six years and I’ve never felt anything like that," Derek Flodin said.
Flodin said at first he tried to corral his customers inside, away from windows.
"I came outside and I asked a police officer what he would like me to do with everyone inside. He said have everyone walk towards the river," Flodin said. "So everyone left. I locked the building. I searched the building (to) make sure no one was in there and we left."
As a lifelong runner, Bob Sandage says the Boston Marathon was a lifetime goal.
Sandage, who owns the Wrecking Bar Brew in Inman Park, says his entire family traveled to Boston to cheer him on.
“That they could have been in that area, it’s just overwhelming,” he said.
Sandage says his family was on their way to the train. After hearing the blasts from a distance, they continued on, not knowing what was unfolding.
He soon learned the explosions killed three people. He was also cheering his father on at the finish line.
“Yeah, I don’t know what I would do. You know, finishing the race and them looking for me and finding out this happened, it would be devastating," he said.
Sandage said 24 hours later he'll head back to Atlanta still in shock, but grateful he's returning home with his family.